Saturday, October 19, 2013

Nothing Gained, Nothing Lost

Chad Staley (22) about to take the shot that leads to his
third of the season against the Surrey Eagles
photo courtesy Garrett James Photography

The Prince George Spruce Kings picked up a single point as did the Surrey Eagles in a game that went the distance and then some only to end in a 4-4 double overtime tie. In the BCHL, there is no such thing as a clear cut winner if neither team can score the winning goal through ten extra minutes of four-on-four and three-on-three play.

The Spruce Kings played a very good game and were full marks with four goals on 45 shots through 70 minutes of play but had to settle for a single point giving them a record of 7-7-1-1 and 16 points in 16 games. The goals on the night came from Bryant Christian, Chad Staley and pair from Brent Lashuk. The two scored by Lashuk came sixteen seconds apart on the same shift just moments after the Eagles had a disallowed goal that would have put Prince George down 4-2 in the third period.

The Surrey Eagles started the scoring at 14:51 of the first period on an offensive zone faceoff. Brett Mulcahy won the draw back to Danton Heinen who fired a shot that was blocked. Jesse Jenks went for the save and couldn't get back in position before Heinen would get his own rebound and fire the shot through the Spruce Kings goaltender.

The Spruce Kings would get that one back 38 seconds later when Justin Rai started the play inside his own zone winning a puck battle to Christian Weidauer. The Spruce Kings leading offensive defenceman started a three-on-two rush up the right side wall. As he gained the Eagles zone he fed the puck over to Cole Todd who let go a shot that was tipped in front by Bryant Christian for his fifth of the season. In the arena, the goal was credited to Cole Todd as the rookie's first BCHL career goal but Todd showed that he is a team first player and that he wants his first to be legitimate after letting team officials know that it was indeed Christian's goal.

Less than two minutes later the Spruce Kings would take their first lead of the game off a strong play in the corner by Mitch Barker. Fighting for the puck in the corner, Barker was able to dislodge the puck for Riley Hawes who fed the puck to Chad Staley waiting in the faceoff circle. Staley walked the puck towards the slot and when he thought he had enough room, fired a shot to the topside corner on the far side over the glove of Devon Fordyce. That goal would stand up until the 8:37 mark of the second period.

After giving up an early shot on goal in the second period, the Spruce Kings reeled off a series of chances and tallied seven shots on Fordyce through the first eight minutes of the middle frame. Under pressure in their own zone, Matt Dawson elected to go with a designed breakout play off the glass to the waiting winger on the centre ice line. Danton Heinen was able to tip the puck sending it up into the air landing just inside the Spruce Kings blue line. Brett Mulcahy picked up there and went to the net hard with Mitch Eden all over him. As Mulcahy was falling he slapped at the puck and knuckler got through Jenks to tie the game 2-2.

The Surrey Eagles would get life from that goal and applied some pressure on the Spruce Kings getting five more shots before the Spruce Kings would finish the period strong. Shots on goal in the second period favoured Prince George 15-7 and 28-15 through forty minutes. To start the third the Eagles would score first in the period just over two minutes in. Nic Pierog added a fourth goal on the weekend after a hat trick on Friday night, his wrister found twine as it worked its way through a screen set up in front of the net.

Just past the midway mark of the third period, the Eagles fired the puck on net where it sat in the blue paint among skates. With the players pushing and fighting to get a stick on the puck, the puck would go off a skate blade just as the net came off its moorings. The goal light would go on but the referee immediately indicated no-goal. After an extended conversation with his linesman, Nick Swaine stuck to his call on the ice and waved off the goal with the explanation that the net had come off before the puck crossed the goal line.

The Spruce Kings and specifically the line of Chad Staley, Jeremiah Luedtke and Brent Lashuk used that as fuel and led the charge for the visiting team. On a rush up the ice, Danny Kiraly found Staley who then slid the puck over to Lashuk who buried his third of the season to tie the game 3-3. Before the goal could be announced in the South Surrey Arena, the trio were back at it again off the faceoff win by Staley, Luedtke carried the puck over the blue line and spotted Lashuk with it who then scored his fourth of the season giving the Spruce Kings a 4-3 lead just 16 seconds after his first of the night.

Lashuk would have a chance at the hat trick as he came down the middle trailing a play that saw Staley's hard shot kicked into the slot by Fordyce. Lashuk may have waited a split second too long as he looked up before taking the shot that the Eagles goaltender was able to find.

Two and a half minutes later it would be a pair of defenceman for the Surrey Eagles combining on the 4-4 tying goal. On a play that started from behind their own net Kale Bennett spotted Matt Dawson on the right side with a nice pass that left Dawson only one option. Racing down the wall, Dawson elected to shoot as he got to the top of the faceoff circle. The puck caught Jenks on his right side and rolled through his equipment to fall behind the netminder onto the blue paint. As Jenks reached behind him to find the loose puck, it kept rolling out of his reach as it crossed the goal line.

That is how the third period would end with both teams having chances before the end of regulation time to stake a claim on both points. As the game headed to overtime, both teams were given the automatic single point and through ten additional minutes of play, neither team could find a quality shot on goal.

After the game, the Spruce Kings learned that the Coquitlam Express had lost in regulation time meaning that Prince George retains third in the Mainland Division two points back of the Express. The Langley Rivermen and the Penticton Vees also went the full distance with nothing being settled after seventy minutes in a 1-1 final. The single point for the Rivermen gives them 20 on the season and a four point cushion against their next opponent - the Prince George Spruce Kings.

It will be a quick turn-around for both teams with a 2pm scheduled puck drop from the Langley Events Centre. Sunday's matchup with be the first of the season between these two Mainland Divisional opponents. The game will be available online beginning with the pregame show at 1:40pm on and the Spruce Kings Mixlr channel.

No comments: