Saturday, December 8, 2012

Game Preview: vs Coquitlam Express

Chad Staley (22) and the Spruce Kings will be
looking to duplicate their efforts from last night

Tonight’s game marks the annual charitable event to raise much needed clothing items for the homeless in our community. The Prince George Spruce Kings provide support for the less fortunate through an ongoing endeavour to assist the St. Vincent de Paul Society including serving lunches.

A little known fact about head coach Dave Dupas is his strong commitment to the Society who can be seen every week at the St. Vincent de Paul Society’s “soup kitchen” serving lunch with a rotating schedule of Spruce Kings players. For Dave it is only a small way to give back to the community that he calls home during the winter months.

Food donations will be accepted at the Spruce Kings game tomorrow night, but tonight it is time to “Drop the Gloves and Sock It to ‘Em.” New socks, gloves and toques sealed in a plastic bag will be thrown on the ice when the Spruce Kings score their first goal of the game.

The opposition tonight is the Coquitlam Express, a Mainland Divisional opponent that the Spruce Kings last played on October 20th. The game finished in favour of Prince George 2-1 after the Spruce Kings scored two unanswered goals in the third period.

Since then the two teams completed a two for one player trade that saw the Spruce Kings acquire 17 year-old Jace Hennig and 19 year-old Mark Begert in exchange for 20 year-old Bradley Ryan. The towering defenceman returns to the Castle where he gained notoriety in the BCHL and secured his previously elusive NCAA Div I Scholarship. After picking up 5 goals and 10 assists in 22 games with the Spruce Kings, Ryan has added 4 more assists in 5 games with the Express.

Last night marked the first game in a Spruce Kings jersey for Jace Hennig who was coming off an injury at the time of the trade. Hennig looked good with his new linemates and showed the promise of skill and talent that has already secured this rookie a Div I scholarship to Merrimack. Mark Begert has also looked good wearing the Crown and has been enjoying his increased ice time on the blue line where he has developed the confidence to jump up on the rush and create scoring chances for his new team.

In the Spruce Kings 3-1 win Friday night over the Cowichan Valley Capitals, the return of Justin Rai seemed to be the catalyst that ignited the Cascade Express Line with Jeremiah Luedtke and Chad Staley. The trio were buzzing all night long – much to the delight of fans who had been missing their energy through the month of November.

Other contributors did so with a methodical businesslike approach to the game. Trevor Esau was a stalwart on the blue line and led by example with timely hits and big blocks while Kirk Thompson turned away 22 of the 23 shots he faced. The Spruce Kings will now look to the game tonight as a chance to continue building confidence and put some separation between them and the fourth place Coquitlam Express.

Please note that tonight's game starts at 7:30pm in the Coliseum with the game broadcast on 93.1 CFIS-FM. It can also be heard online with the free audio broadcast on and the pay-per-view broadcast on The later start is to accommodate a speed skating tournament in the Coliseum during the day.

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