Saturday, January 19, 2013

Game Preview: vs Chilliwack Chiefs

Pieces of Kirk Thompson are strewn about following
a vicious goal mouth collision in Friday's game

Rematch, back half of the double header, game four ... call it what you want, one thing is for sure this is turning into an entertaining series between these two teams.

If the rematch tonight is anything like the game last night, we are in for another entertaining and physically demanding contest with two teams that are well on their way to developing a heated rivalry.

Last night these two teams put on a battle that was reminiscent of games played many seasons ago, in a time when players, teams and their fans were emotionally involved with the game on the ice. Both teams had their fair share of penalties and power play chances.

Some many even say that there was so much going on that it was too much for just one referee to handle. The BCHL has answered that concern and there will be a four man officiating team for the rematch tonight.

A scary play last night saw Trevor Esau hit from behind with a high elbow driving his head into the glass. The hit left the Spruce Kings captain with a deep cut above his eye that required medical attention. There was also a lot of concern after a play that saw Kirk Thompson bowled over into his net. Besides the concern of seeing the team’s number one goaltender sent sprawling, the net also needed some repairs before the game could continue.

Both teams are going with identical lineups as last night showing that both teams believe they put their best efforts forward. The Spruce Kings will be without Sean Landrey for the third game in a row after suffering a lower body injury in Chilliwack last Friday. Spencer Schoech is a healthy scratch tonight as the Spruce Kings get to enjoy a basically healthy roster, something that isn’t known to be the case, especially at this time of the year.

The Chilliwack Chiefs are still shorthanded with injuries and suspensions meaning that their trio of affiliate player will be back in the lineup tonight. Last night the combination of Brandon Volpe, Spencer McHaffie and Scott McHaffie combined for the eventual game winning goal. Those bragging rights will for sure have the former Spruce Kings players beaming tonight.

Meanwhile Prince George will be looking to find their way around some of the obstacles they faced last night with Chilliwack finding ways to break up passes. The biggest obstacle for the Spruce Kings last night had to be the play of Mitch Gillam who was able to turn aside some quality scoring chances for Prince George to the tune of 46 saves.

Kirk Thompson didn’t have the night off either facing a total of 37 shots. Two of the three goals were deflections off of his own defenceman making the job of protecting the net a difficult one. Thompson and Gillam come in to the game with some all-star numbers. Gillam has a goals against average of 2.29 to Thompson’s 2.64 while both have A+ rankings with their save percentages of 93.6 for Mitch and 92.0 for Kirk.

Game time tonight is 7pm with the game broadcast starting at 6:35pm on 93.1 CFIS-FM as well as a free online audio feed from the Spruce Kings channel and the pay-per-view broadcast on Following the game, the Chilliwack Chiefs will return home to await the arrival of the Prince George Spruce Kings to finish up the three game set between these two Mainland Divisional rivals on Wednesday night.

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