Friday, February 1, 2013

Spruce Kings Clipped by Nanaimo

Spruce Kings had chances ... all but one sailed by
photo courtesy Gary Dorland

The Prince George Spruce Kings let one get away Friday night at the Coliseum.

Leading the Nanaimo Clippers 1-0 heading into the third period, Prince George was unable to hold on to the lead eventually dropping a 2-1 decision to close out a four-game homestand with two wins, a loss and an overtime loss. Josh Bryan evened the score for the Clippers on a back door power-play goal midway through the third and Mason Mitchell scored the game winner. Cameron Lawson opened the scoring for the Spruce Kings in the first period.

Despite only getting the one goal, Prince George had ample chances against Clippers netminder Jayson Argue. In the first period a Lyndon Martell point blast on the power play rung off the post. In the second, again with the man advantage, Shayne Morrissey clanged one off the cross bar and in the third Coltyn Hansen found the iron.

Argue, who shut out the Spruce Kings in their previous meeting, turned aside 24 shots and was named the Treasure Cove Casino first star.

Lawson's goal came on the Spruce Kings first recorded shot at 8:28 of the opening period. Liam Blackburn's centering pass - likely intended for Morrissey - bounced off a Clipper defender and right to Lawson. The Spruce Kings leading goal scorer wasted little time in putting his 16th goal of the season in the net.

The Spruce Kings got into penalty trouble in the first, but escaped a two man disadvantage unscathed. In fact the penalty killing unit did an excellent job through two periods, killing off four infractions with ease. But it was the fifth penalty that did Prince George in.

The game's second star Greg Fraser set up the pretty goal with a cross-ice pass to a Bryan who was streaking in from his blue-line post. His quick shot beat Spruce Kings goaltender Kirk Thompson. Mitchell also got an assist on the play. Moments later Mitchell notched the game winner, again set up by Fraser with linemate Matthew Grant picking up the third assist.

Thompson, the game's third star, made 29 saves in a losing cause.

For the second game in a row the Spruce Kings captain Trevor Esau was named the Fortis Energy player of the game, while Jace Hennig took home Dairy Queen player of the game honours.

The Spruce Kings begin a stretch of seven straight games against Mainland Division opponents next week when they hit the road for games against Surrey and Chilliwack.

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