Saturday, March 9, 2013

Game Preview: vs Salmon Arm Silverbacks

Bryant Christian (11) scored for Prince George the last time
these two teams met on November 18, 2012

With a tail gate party before a sold out game, the Prince George Spruce Kings are feeling pretty good about themselves right now knowing that they have the entire community behind them as they wrap up their regular season and prepare for the playoffs.

The opponent tonight is breathing a little easier too knowing that they clinched the final playoff spot in the Interior Division. The Salmon Arm Silverbacks needed at least a point in their final two games of the regular season to eliminate the Trail Smoke Eaters and they did that last night.

In a game that they never led, the Silverbacks fought from a 3-0 deficit to tie the game 4-4 before winning it just 30 seconds in to the extra frame. The Silverbacks have been scratching and clawing for points for a while now and are full value for making it to the playoffs with 25 wins under their belt.

Although tonight’s game is the first time that they can actually take their foot off the gas pedal, don’t expect them to ease up now knowing that they will have to face the Penticton Vees in the first round of the post season. The Spruce Kings secured their rights to the “second season” a couple of weeks ago and secured their spot in the standings last weekend, but it did come at a cost.

Heading into the game tonight there are four key players on the shelf and all are expected to be sitting in the sold out stands at the Coliseum. Justin Rai might be gone the longest of the three after suffering a lower body injury while initiating a hit on a Langley player. In a similar situation, Cameron Lawson is out with an upper body injury, but has been rehabbing faster than originally expected.

Two other players are question marks for tonight and both listed as day-to-day. Both Jace Hennig and Jeremiah Luedtke sustained hits to the head and have been careful not to come back too soon for fear of re-aggravating their injuries. With the Cariboo Cougars at the start of their post-season, the Spruce Kings were only able to call on one affiliate player to join them this weekend. Reece Forman will suit up in his third game for the team and will expect to see some time on the blue line while Mitch Eden and Mark Begert play a few shifts on offense.

Tonight’s game also marks the final regular season games for Kirk Thompson, Trevor Esau, Coltyn Hansen and Shayne Morrissey. The four over-agers will be recognized before the game for their contributions to the team. Hansen comes in to the game as the team’s leading scorer while Morrissey has a chance to position himself in the top three. Esau has been the team’s captain leading by example on the ice and team’s leading shot blocker while Thompson has done everything imaginable between the pipes setting four franchise records this season.

Game time tonight is schedule for 7pm and will be broadcast live on 93.1 CFIS-FM with a pregame show beginning at 6:35pm. The game will also be available for free online through the Spruce Kings channel and as a pay-per-view broadcast on With this being the final regular season game of the year, fans are invited to attend a fan appreciation and playoff send-off for the players at the College Heights location of Dairy Queen on Sunday March 10th from 11:30am to 1:30pm. The players will be signing autographs and everybody in attendance will have a chance to win one of two team autographed hockey sticks as well as playoff tickets for the Spruce Kings first post season home game on March 18th.

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