Thursday, January 31, 2013

Spruce Kings Soar Past Eagles

Liam Blackburn (24) was called up from the Cariboo Cougars
and notched his first in the BCHL

The Surrey Eagles may be the Mainland Division leaders, but the Prince George Spruce Kings sure have their number so far this year.

For the fourth time in seven meetings the Spruce Kings came out victorious, decisively defeating the Eagles 4-1 at the Castle on Thursday night.

Lyndon Martell had a goal and an assists and Cameron Lawson chipped in with three helpers as the Spruce Kings improved their record against the Eagles to four wins and three overtime losses. Chad Staley and Liam Blackburn also scored for the home side, while Kirk Thompson turned aside 31 shots to earn Treasure Cove Casino first star honours. Martell, the Dairy Queen player of the game, got things started with a power-play goal at 9:07 of the opening period. His blast from the point appeared to hit something and front and fool Michael Sanatguida in the Eagles net. Jake LeBrun and Lawson picked up the assists.

Just over a minute later the Spruce Kings doubled their lead as Chad Staley and Jeremiah Luedtke broke in 2-on-2. Staley tried a drop pass to Luedtke, but the winger fanned on his first shot attempt. The puck bounced right back on Staley's stick and he lifted it over Santaguida at 10:31. Skylar Pacheco also picked up an assist.

The Eagles got one back in the second period when their most dangerous player on the night Brady Shaw capitalized. He came in on a rush, cut to the middle of the ice and fired a shot past Thompson - the lone blemish on an otherwise perfect night for the Spruce Kings' ace. Thompson had played spectacularly well against the Eagles this season, with both his shutouts coming against Surrey.

The Spruce Kings weathered a strong second period by the Eagles and carried a 2-1 lead into the third. Using all four lines all game, Prince George appeared to have more jump in the final stanza and it paid off on the scoreboard.

First sniper Shayne Morrissey restored the two-goal lead with the help of Lawson and Mark Begert at 8:26. Then Blackburn, a member of the midget triple-A Cariboo Cougars and one of three affiliate players in the Spruce Kings lineup, scored his first BCHL goal at 10:21. Santaguida made a save on a Lawson shot, but Blackburn dug out the rebound and fired it in the net. Blackburn was named the game's second star.

The game got chippy in the third and the Spruce Kings were awarded ample power play time in the dying minutes which allowed them to control possession and run out the clock.

Captain Trevor Esau was named the FortisBC Energy Player of the Game for his steady - and physical - play patrolling the Spruce Kings blue-line.

The Spruce Kings are back on the ice on Friday night when the Nanaimo Clippers make their first and only regular season visit to the Castle this year.

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