Friday, February 1, 2013

Game Preview: vs Nanaimo Clippers

It was tough to get anything to go in
the last time these two teams met

After an entertaining game last night, the Prince George Spruce Kings are ready to get right back to it. This time against the Nanaimo Clippers as the Island Division team makes its one and only regular season trip north. It will be the second and final meeting between the two with the previous meeting coming less than four weeks ago.

The Spruce Kings lost 2-0 to the Clippers at the tail end of the first road trip after the Christmas break. The game was scoreless through the first two periods of play and extremely close, thanks in large part to the play of Kirk Thompson who faced 40 shots in the game.

The Nanaimo Clippers arrived in Prince George last night after a full day of travel from the Island. The team arrived in time to watch some of the lone BCHL game Thursday as the Spruce Kings defeated the Surrey Eagles 4-1. In the game Thompson was key again, turning aside 31 shots en route to his twentieth win of the season.

In the game, the Spruce Kings got goal scoring from Lyndon Martell (power play goal), Chad Staley (eventual game winner), Shayne Morrissey and Liam Blackburn (powerplay goal). The affiliate player called up from the Cariboo Cougars Major Midget team was an impact player in the game throughout and battled hard wearing the Crown.

Defensively the Spruce Kings were strong and had to keep an eye on an ever roving Brady Shaw who found himself behind everybody else in the neutral zone a few times. On one of those occasions, Shaw was able to convert on a two-on-one play for the Eagles only goal of the night.

The challenge for the Spruce Kings tonight is to build on the win and duplicate the effort tonight against an equally strong opponent. The Nanaimo Clippers come in to the Coliseum looking for their first win in three games, but that stat might be a little misleading. Nanaimo is 6-4 in their past ten outings and have a season record of 23-17-0-2 with a record of 11-7-0-1 on the road.

The Clippers are a very potent team offensively with seven players having 25 or more points led by Kyle Kramer (24G, 19A). Also in that dynamic group is Greg Fraser (13G, 28A) and Matthew Grant (9G, 26A) who both have Major Junior experience and were factors in the win over Prince George.

A part of the game tonight is the recognition of Heart Month with the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Tonight the Spruce Kings will recognize the team trainer as the team’s Heart Hero. Bill Baldridge suffered a heart attack in December 2007 while on the bench during a game that resulted in a triple bypass. After a recovery time, Bill returned to the team as the trainer for the 2008/09 season and has been in the same position ever since.

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 The Spruce Kings next home game comes up on Thursday February 14th versus the Langley Rivermen, which will also be Ladies Night.

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