Sunday, January 27, 2013

Spruce Kings' OT Woes Continue Against Express

Liam McLeod was at his best in the second period
when Coquitlam was forcing much of the play

The Spruce Kings got a great effort from a trio of rookies, but it wasn't enough on Sunday afternoon as they fell 4-3 in double overtime to the Coquitlam Express.

Former Spruce King defenceman Brad Ryan was the hero for the visitors, converting a 2-on-1 in the second overtime period to give the Express their first win against the Spruce Kings in six starts. Prince George had now dropped six straight overtime games after winning three of their first five to start the year.

Ryan's goal was set up by Adam Rossignol and came at 3:09 of the second OT session, with the two teams playing three-on-three.

Despite the loss, first-year netminder Liam McLeod was strong in net for Prince George. He turned aside 35 shots, including 18 in the second period, and was named the Treasure Cove Casino first star. Fellow rookie Jake LeBrun added two goals and affiliate player Kody Disher had a solid game and was named the Fortis Energy player of the game.

McLeod's counterpart Cole Huggins made 41 saves, with 17 coming in the third period, and was named second star. Spruce Kings defenceman Karan Toor picked up third star honours.

Dairy Queen player of the game Jace Hennig also scored for Prince George, getting a goal against his former team. Rossignol, Justin Georgeson and Ben Israel replied for the Express. Georgeson finished with a goal and two assists.

Disher, called up from Junior B as an affiliate player due to the absence of forwards Sean Landrey and Tyson Witala, made his presence felt early with a scoring chance on his first shift, a big hit on his second and a fight with Israel in the second period. Disher even earned ice time in the final minute of regulation with the score tied.

The Express got on the board first in what turned into a wild first period, when Rossignol beat McLeod with a shot to the five-hole at 9:04. Georgeson and Malcolm McKinney got the helpers seconds after a Trevor Esau penalty expired.

The Spruce Kings drew even on LeBrun's first of the night, the rookie took a feed from Shayne Morrissey and quickly released a wrist shot past Huggins. Cameron Lawson also picked up an assist at 11:39.

Hennig gave the home side its first lead of the game at 12:53 on a goal set up by Coltyn Hansen. After scoring a hat trick Saturday night, Hansen weaved through a pair of Express defenders right in front of the net, but couldn't get a good shot off. Instead he slid the puck back through the crease where Hennig banged it home. David Stephens also got an assist on the play.

The lead was short-lived as the Express drew even when Georgeson capitalized on a penalty shot. Using a dangling move made famous by Peter Forsberg, Georgeson drew McLeod to the goalie's left and at the last second reached around and slid the puck in on the right side at 13:32.

LeBrun put the Spruce Kings back in front at 17:03, tipping a Morrissey shot past Huggins moments after an Express penalty expired. Skylar Pacheco also got a helper. Israel had the lone goal of the second period, collecting his own rebound and lifting a shot over McLeod's shoulder. His power-play goal was assisted by Georgeson and Zack Pryzbek.

The Spruce Kings continue their homestand on Thursday night when they host the Surrey Eagles at the Castle.

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