Thursday, January 31, 2013

Game Preview: vs Surrey Eagles

Kirk Thompson was the difference
the last time these two teams met

As the playoff race intensifies, so do the games … especially the divisional matchups like tonight’s game. The Surrey Eagles are in town for their final regular season matchup with the Spruce Kings, the seventh of eight meetings between the two clubs.

The last time the Spruce Kings played the Eagles it was a one sided affair on the scoreboard with Kirk Thompson registering his second shutout of the season against the birds. The interesting fact about the six previous meetings is that Prince George has picked up at least a point in every game.

That’s huge when you think about the importance of points at this time of the year. Coming in to the game tonight, the Surrey Eagles sit in top spot in the Mainland Division with 59 points (27-11-2-3) which is 11 points better than Prince George (20-15-1-7). The Spruce Kings have an eight point cushion on the Langley Rivermen and eleven on the Coquitlam Express.

With thirteen games remaining in their regular season schedule, magic numbers start surfacing and for Prince George that magic number to clinch a playoff spot is 14 points. Holding onto third spot, that magic number jumps to 23 points. To secure home ice in the first round of the playoffs, that number is still attainable at 35 but would require a little help from some other teams.

Without getting too far ahead of the game at hand, the Spruce Kings will be in tough against a team that has been surging since that 2-0 loss to Prince George before Christmas. The Eagles are on a three game winning streak and are 7-1-1-1 in their last ten games. They are also a very good team on the road with a record of 13-6-0-2 away from their nest.

There has been a recent rash of injuries requiring both teams to call on some of their affiliate players to fill gaps. The longest list of injuries belongs to the Eagles who are without five players including their trade deadline acquisition from the Vernon Vipers, Adam Tambellini. Also out of the lineup are Demico Hannoun, Troy Paterson, William Clark and Glenn Ferguson.

The Spruce Kings have also had to call in Kody Disher from the Castlegar Rebels and Liam Blackburn from the Cariboo Cougars to cover for four vacancies with David Stephens, Tyson Witala, Sean Landrey and Kevin Guiltinan all out of the lineup. Both Disher and Blackburn have played games wearing the Crown and will be able to fit in nicely tonight. Disher is expected to play with Jace Hennig and Bryant Christian while Blackburn will take Stephens spot at centre with Lyndon Martell and Coltyn Hansen on his wings.

Game time tonight is 7pm and will be broadcast on 93.1 CFIS-FM starting with a pregame show at 6:35pm. The game will also be carried online with the free audio broadcast from the Spruce Kings channel and a pay-per-view feed from A reminder about tomorrow's game versus the Nanaimo Clippers, it will also be Heart and Stoke Awareness night in the Castle Friday in recognition of Heart and Stroke Month. Prior to the game, the Spruce Kings will recognize Bill Baldridge as their Heart Hero. For more information, please visit the Heart and Stroke Foundation website (click here).

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