Sunday, March 3, 2013

Rivermen Double Up Spruce Kings

This game won't be remembered for the final score!

The Langley Rivermen's top line was too much for the Prince George Spruce Kings on Sunday afternoon.

Mario Puskarich, Evan Campbell and James Robinson combined for 18 points as the Rivermen clinched a playoff spot with a 8-4 win at the Castle.

A day after locking up third place in the Mainland Division, the Spruce Kings were playing for pride on Sunday and trying to even the season series against Langley. With the win the Rivermen picked up their 12th point in nine games against the Spruce Kings - five wins and two overtime losses. The Spruce Kings received eight points for their four victories.

Robinson scored twice in the second to break a 3-3 tie and give Langley a lead they would never relinquish. At 6:37 of the middle period he slid a rebound past Spruce Kings' starter Liam McLeod. Campbell and Puskarich got the helpers.

Just over four minutes later Robinson, standing at the side of the net, took a feed from Puskarich and banged home is second of the night.

Prince George had a couple of chances to get back in the game late in the second, but Coltyn Hansen clanged one off the post and goalie James Barr got a glove on a Chad Staley shot from point-blank range.

A couple of lights went out in the Coliseum late in the second necessitating an early intermission while they were rebooted. The teams played the three minutes of the third after the flood and switched ends for the third.

Trevor Cope at 34 seconds and Puskarich, assisted by Robinson, at 1:33 put the game out of reach.

The Spruce Kings power play, which has sputtered at times this year, was the lone bright spot. Prince George scored twice with the man advantage in the first - even building a 2-1 lead at one point - and added another power-play talley in the third.

Jake LeBrun and Justin Rai both scored with the man advantage, but it was the Riverman who led after one period thanks to a pair of goals from Campbell and a single from Puskarich.

Campbell opened the scoring just 2:15 in as the Rivermen capitalized on an early power-play opportunity.

LeBrun brought the Spruce Kings back on even terms at 5:46. After Rai's shot attempt was blocked in the slot, LeBrun corralled the loose puck and fired it past Barr.

Rai gave the Spruce Kings their only lead of the game at 13:10, tipping home Mark Begert's point shot.

The lead was very shortlived as Puskarich blasted a shot past McLeod off a rush at 13:31. Campbell's second of the period at 17:06 gave the Rivermen the lead heading into the intermission.

Hansen tied the game up again at 3:08 of the second with a nice individual effort while short-handed. Hansen also had a short-handed breakaway in the third, but tried one too many moves and was stopped.

Things began to get out of hand in the third and tempers flared. Spruce Kings captain Trevor Esau was ejected after an altercation and Langley padded their lead on a resulting five-minute power play when Derek Sutliffe scored at 6:49 of the final period.

Mitch Eden's point shot at 13:57 of the third got past Darren Hogg, who finished the game in net for Langley, to give the Spruce Kings three power-play goals on the night. Kevin Guiltinan and Bryant Christian got the assists.

The Spruce Kings wrap up the regular season on Saturday night when the Salmon Arm Silverbacks make their one and only trip to Prince George. Prince George will open the playoffs in Chillwack on March 15 and 16, with the best-of-five series coming to Prince George for Game 3 on March 18 and a possible Game 4 the following night.

No comments: