Saturday, October 19, 2013

Game Day at Surrey Eagles

Christian Weidauer (7) and the Spruce Kings will be looking
for the season series split tonight vs the Surrey Eagles
photo courtesy Garrett James Photography

After suffering their worst loss of the season last night, the Spruce Kings have a chance at redemption and an early season series split against the Surrey Eagles tonight.

Last night's game started out rough and finished even rougher for the Spruce Kings who were looking to put some distance between them and their Mainland Divisional rival. In the first of eight regular season meetings between the Surrey Eagles and Prince George, it was the Eagles that took flight early scoring on their first shift ten seconds into the game and then four more times in the third period.

Down 1-0, Prince George was able to settle down and play the next 32 minutes looking for a way to tie the game. That tieing goal came at 12:15 off the stick of Brogan O'Brien. The sixteen year old rookie has been a solid player since joining the team seven games ago and provided the lone ray of light for the team with his first BCHL career goal.

The team came to within a goal post and a couple of goal mouth scrambles in the second period from claiming a lead over the defending BCHL champions. The third period told a different story with the Surrey Eagles turning a close game through 45 minutes into a blowout scoring four goals in the final 15 minutes to claim a 6-1 win over Prince George.

The Spruce Kings knew going in that playing on the Olympic sized arena. The game plan seemed simple enough - play between the dots - but that turned out to be more difficult than expected as the Surrey Eagles used the boards to their advantage to spring odd man rushes all night long.

Learning how to deal with that will be a priority for the Spruce Kings as they took a hit in their League leading team defensive stats. Prince George still has the best goals against average in the Mainland Division but slipped a notch among the League leaders to third behind the Powell River Kings and the Penticton Vees.

Still struggling to find the back of the net is becoming an ongoing struggle as the team has only averaged a goal a game in their last five outings. The best chances for more offense last night came off the sticks of Brent Lashuk who hit a goal post, Cole Todd with a partial break-away and Chad Staley who had a chance at the top of the crease until the referee lost sight of the puck and blew the play dead.

Not allowing that to become a source of frustration is also a key to success before the players start gripping their sticks too tight. The Surrey Eagles on the other hand seemed to be loose and free wheeling last night and able to get into the right positions at the right times. Making blocks and deflecting shots or keeping the Spruce Kings too the low percentage angles was their key to success.

Look for little adjustments tonight in the lines and for Jesse Jenks to start in goal for Prince George. The rookie netminder has just been invited to the Team Canada West selection camp and will be pumped to put in a good performance tonight. The Team Canada West selection camp runs from October 26-29 and will be a chance for the 18 year old to wear the Maple Leaf at the World Junior A Challenge in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia from November 4-10, 2013. For more information visit the World Junior A Challenge website.

Tonight's game has a 7pm scheduled puck drop and will be broadcast live online with a pay-per-view feed on and a free audio only feed on the Spruce Kings Mixlr channel beginning with a pregame show at 6:40pm. It should be noted that internet issues last night caused lots of problems with the audio only feed and those are trying to be sorted out in time for tonight's game.

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