It is that time of the year when Northern residents know that the bears are in the woods looking to fatten themselves up for the coming winter. That bear aware message will resonate tonight in the Castle as the Victoria Grizzlies saunter into the rink looking to pad their stats at the expense of the Spruce Kings.
The Prince George Spruce Kings are coming off a big 3-0 shutout victory over the Vernon Vipers on Friday night that saw all of the highlights come from the third period. Besides the win, all the conversation on the day after is about the hit on the Spruce Kings leading scorer.
After a series of goals from Mitch Eden, Christian Weidauer and Jeremiah Luedtke things took a turn for the worse when Jake LeBrun was tracked from behind the net before being hit from behind into the side wall. The hit drew a five minute major and game misconduct for boarding to the same player that had been assessed a two minute minor and ten minute misconduct for a blow to the head in the second period.
As it stands now LeBrun is not expected in the lineup for an undetermined time and will be undoing observation following the concussion protocol. As for the offending player, it is not yet known what additional discipline he will be facing either.
The injury to LeBrun leaves the Spruce Kings short two of players on their top line. Brent Lashuk is also out with an upper body injury leaving Bryant Christian to shoulder the work load with a couple of new hands on deck. Cole Todd will stay on the top line where he was last night earning third star for his hard work offensively and defensively. Moving up to the opposite wing will be Brogan O’Brien who has a great game as 16 year old making his home debut in last night’s game.
Last season’s dynamic line of Chad Staley, Justin Rai and Jeremiah Luedtke will be together again tonight as they continue to build chemistry. Last night the trio was a force and really sealed the deal scoring the 3-0 goal just 18 seconds after the 2-0 tally.
Matt Painchaud, Mitch Barker and Braiden Epp have been creating energy and working well together as has the all Prince George line that will feature three boys all coming in at 6’ 3” or better with Sean Landrey, Riley Hawes and Stephen Penner. The Spruce Kings have been getting great defence from the likes of Mitch Eden, Karan Toor, Skylar Pacheco, Christian Weidauer, Caleb Thompson and Danny Kiraly. The goaltending duo of Jesse Jenks and Alex Murray have been nothing short of spectacular over the past four games. After picking up his first BCHL shutout, Murray will get the night out giving Jenks the nod in net.
The Victoria Grizzlies will be a little sour after clawing their way back from a 2-0 deficit only to see a late 3-2 lead disappear in regulation time and ultimately losing 4-3 to the Merritt Centennials. The Grizzlies drove through the night, arriving in Prince George in the early morning hours and may be a little disoriented when they arrive at the arena for the game tonight.
Leading the way offensively are two of the three Fitzgerald triplets, Gerry has 12 points (6G, 6A), Myles has 10 (3G, 7A) while Leo has missed a handful of games and has three assists in four games. The Fitzgeralds are three of the team's seven college commitments after the team announced Brandon Egli's commitment to the University of Massachusetts Minutemen.
Tonight's game has a 7pm scheduled puck drop and will be broadcast live online with the usual pay-per-view feed from Fasthockey.com and the free audio online broadcast on the Spruce Kings Mixlr Channel. Ambient audio from the rink will lead up to the start of the pregame show at 6:40pm followed by the Prince George Motors Spruce Kings game broadcast with Brandan Spyker and Matt Wakeham providing the play-by-play and analysis of the game.