|Chad Staley (22) continues to lead the Spruce Kings and|
will be looking to do so again tonight vs the Surrey Eagles
The Spruce Kings are on the road for a pair of Mainland Divisional matchups to play out the 2013 portion of their season with stops in Surrey tonight and Chilliwack Friday night. Prince George, as they have for many seasons in a row, will play their final games before the Christmas break on the road before sending players home to be with family and friends over the holidays.
Before they can go their separate ways, the players will first have to come up with a pair of focuses efforts if they would like to give themselves their own best Christmas present. A pair of wins will put them in top spot in the Mainland Division with the same amount of points as the current front runners and a game in hand on the Langley Rivermen. Not mentally leaving on holidays before playing the games and not getting too far ahead of themselves will be the keys to the games, especially tonight.
Tonight marks the sixth meeting of the season between the Surrey Eagles and the Prince George Spruce Kings with these two teams having played to some interesting finishes in their first five encounters. Both teams have a lopsided win against the other on home ice and both have skated away with a narrow one goal finish in the other's arena. They have also had to settle for a single point in a 4-4 overtime tie.
In their very first meeting, the Surrey Eagles racked up a 6-1 win on home ice and it was the following night that the two ended 70 minutes of play in a deadlock. A couple of weeks later Prince George had to come from behind after giving up a short handed goal against to post a 3-2 win in regulation time. Two weeks after that Surrey made their first trip North and came home with a split after being blown out 7-1 in the first night, they never trailed the next night and won the game 2-1.
Since that win in Prince George, the Surrey Eagles have been playing nearly perfect .500 hockey and have been flip flopping wins and losses to the tune of a record of 5 wins and 4 losses with the last win being a 5-4 overtime win at home to the Coquitlam Express last Sunday night. The Surrey Eagles are on a current home ice win streak of four wins and will be looking to improve their overall home ice record this season to 9-9-1-0. Meanwhile the Spruce Kings are winners of their last two games - games they weren't even sure they would get to play at this time last week.
In a pair of rescheduled games played on Sunday and Monday night in Prince George, the Spruce Kings came away with four points after posting 4-1 and 8-5 wins over the Chilliwack Chiefs. The Spruce Kings will be looking to add to their current two game win streak and will be looking to improve their first half road record strong as well. Currently sitting with a road record of 10-5-2-1, the Spruce Kings have the same number of points on the road and in as many games as the Langley Rivermen.
Players to be on the watch for tonight include Brent Lashuk who has had three multiple point games against Surrey including a hat trick in the 7-1 win on November 15th. Brogan O'Brien has also registered a hat trick against the Eagles. Justin Rai is coming off two big games and will be looking to have another one again tonight playing in front of family and friends. Bryant Christian and Jake LeBrun look to be on track after being put back on a line together. The two combined for nine points in their last two games together with Justin Rai and Brent Lashuk alternating as the other winger.
Chad Staley continues to impress and has heard from a number of schools of their interest in him for their programs. Staley will want to show that he can play a big game on any size sheet of ice and making an impact on the Olympic ice tonight will be his opportunity to get one step closer to solidifying a long term deal with a NCAA Division I school. Staley and Luedtke have been the team's dynamic duo creating multiple chances and frustrating the opposition every time they have been on the ice.
Jesse Jenks is expected to get the start in goal tonight. Feeling more comfortable in his new pads, Jenks would like to have a big game against the Eagles to keep his numbers at the top of the Leagues' Leaderboard. Jenks comes into the game with a 2.56 Goals Against Average and .915 Save Percentage and a record of 7 wins, 4 losses and 1 tie. Against the Eagles, Jenks has a record of 1 win and 1 tie having only played in two of the five previous meetings.
The coaching staff will want the players to be conscious of their defensive assignments, especially on the big ice as it will be difficult to play catchup hockey against the fast moving Surrey Eagles tonight. The game will be broadcast live online with the pay-per-view feed available through Fasthockey.com and a free audio only webcast on the Spruce Kings Mixlr Channel beginning with a pregame show at 6:40pm.