Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Spruce Kings Force Game 5 Against Chiefs

Start the bus, the Prince George Spruce Kings are still alive in the BCHL playoffs.

The Spruce Kings beat the Chilliwack Chiefs 5-2 on Tuesday night at the Castle and force a decisive Game 5 on Wednesday night back in Chilliwack.

Coltyn Hansen took a breakaway feed from Mitch Eden and wired a shot off the cross-bar an in past Chiefs starter Mitch Gillam just 23 seconds into the second period to break a 1-1 tie and score his first of two on the night. The shot was beautiful, but the way Hansen was able to corral the bouncing pass without breaking stride that made the play and helped earn him Treasure Cove Casino second star honours. Third star Trevor Easu also picked up an assist on the go-ahead goal.

Shayne Morrissey also had a pair, keeping alive his streak of success after appearing with Ron Gallo on the Spruce Kings pre-game show.

Jeremiah Leudtke almost had a breakaway goal of his own a few minutes later, but Gillam won the race to the loose puck against the Spruce Kings forward.

Prince George did go ahead by two at 12:25, shortly after killing a Skylar Pacheco boarding penalty. As Kevin Guiltinan led the rush out of the Spruce Kings zone, Pacheco stepped out of the box and onto the bench. Morrissey was Pacheco's replacement and got on the ice just in time to one-time the rebound off Guiltinan's shot past Gillam. Cameron Lawson also picked up an assist.

Lawson had a glorious chance to make it a three-goal lead in the dying seconds of the second period but he couldn't get a handle on a bouncing puck in front of the net with Gillam down and out.

The Spruce Kings got things started in the third with a big open ice hit by Guitlinan on Luke Esposito and a mind-boggling cross-crease full body diving save by Kirk Thompson to preserve the two-goal lead.

The Chiefs were able to get back within one at 5:12 of the third as Philip Zielonka scored his second power-play goal of the game off a feed from David Thompson and Ryan Donohoe.

The Chiefs were buzzing around the Spruce Kings net for the majority of the period, with

Thompson stepping up time and again between the pipes for Prince George. The Spruce Kings goalie made 18 third period saves and finished the night with 40 stops and was the game's first star.

Gillam made 24 saves, facing his most difficult shots in the first two periods. Hansen iced the game with 42 seconds to go into an empty net. His fifth goal of the series was assisted by Mark Begert. Morrissey added a second empty netter with a half-second left on the clock.

After slow starts in each of the last two games, the Spruce Kings jumped out to a 1-0 lead just 28 seconds into the game when Esau ripped a point shot over the shoulder of Gillam. David Stephens picked up the lone assist.

After taking back-to-back penalties, the Spruce Kings found themselves down two men for 45 seconds midway through the first. They killed off the 5-on-3 portion of the odd man disadvantage, but the Chiefs did get back on even terms at 10:46. Zielonka took a feed from Alexandre Perron-Fontaine in the slot and was able to beat Thompson low to the blocker side. Austin Plevy also picked up an assist on the play.

Guiltinan was named the Fortis Energy player of the game and Begert took home the Dairy Queen player of the game award.

The winner of the Prince George-Chillwack series will play Surrey in Round 2 beginning on Friday night in Surrey in another best-of-five series.

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