Sunday, February 24, 2013

Game Preview: at Coquitlam Express

"Be ready to go!" is the message today.
Shayne Morrissey uses a BCHL timeout to retape his stick Friday.

It's the final road game of the regular season for the Spruce Kings and a chance to redeem themselves from Friday's loss as well as build momentum heading into the playoffs. Prince George is coming off a 5-3 win over the Chilliwack Chiefs in a game that saw the Spruce Kings make a complete 180 from the their game the night before. Everybody was going and sticking to the game plan of playing it close and putting players in the dirty areas. That will have to be the plan today again against a team that is still fighting for a playoff spot.

The Coquitlam Express played the perfect game on Friday night and were full value for their win over Prince George, but they must have been de-moralized when they realized within minutes of leaving the ice that they hadn't made up any ground on the Langley Rivermen who also posted a win Friday night. In fact the Express, who were idle last night, have now lost ground in the playoff race after Langley picked up two points in a 3-2 overtime win in Vernon Saturday night.

Coquitlam has to make the most out of every game they play til the end and hope that other teams do them a favour as they have no more games remaining against the Rivermen. Langley of course will be interested in today's game between Prince George and Coquitlam, but I wonder who they will be cheering for? A Prince George win and the Spruce Kings will have an eight point cushion on Langley with both teams set to meet each other in the Castle next weekend for a double header. A Coquitlam win and the Express will be just five points back of that final playoff spot.

That's just part of the excitement of the playoff race, but more importantly for Dave Dupas and the Spruce Kings is to string some wins together and build confidence on the bench that the team can beat any team by sticking to the game plan. Prior to last night's win, Dupas addressed the team, presenting a 101 approach that had to be taken with every player making those little sacrifices and winning all the battles. The players seemed to do exactly that winning most of the faceoffs, getting to lots of the loose pucks at both ends of the ice, finding spots in the dirty areas and also taking as well as giving hits to gain puck possession.

On Friday night it might have been bus legs or something along those lines, but the players all got off to a sluggish start and had to dig themselves out of a hole. In an earlier start today, expect to see the Spruce Kings be quicker out of the gate and carry their momentum over from last night's win.

Game time today is at 2pm with a pre-game show starting at 1:35pm. Please note that game will not be carried on the radio today due to Sunday programming on the community radio station. To listen to the game today click on the link for the free audio available online through the Spruce Kings channel or watch the pay-per-feed on Following the game, the Spruce Kings will head home (after a post game meal stop at the Mandarin Garden in Chilliwack) to prepare for their final four games of the regular season starting with three next weekend versus the Vernon Vipers Friday and a double header against the Langley Rivermen on Saturday and Sunday. The Spruce Kings will wrap up the regular season on home ice Saturday March 9th against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks.

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