|Spruce Kings will be wearing their dark blue jerseys tonight|
when they host the Surrey Eagles
For the first time in 2014, the Spruce Kings return to home ice for a regular season game. Tonight Prince George host the Surrey Eagles in the first half of a weekend double header between these two Mainland Divisional opponents.
The Spruce Kings sit in second place with 48 points (22-13-2-2) and are coming off a 3-0 shutout victory over the Chilliwack Chiefs last Sunday. The year did not start out the way it was hoped after Prince George dropped their first two games after the Christmas Break before responding with the shutout win.
With a record of 17-22-1-0, the Surrey Eagles are looking for this trip North to spark themselves to a win and gain some ground on the Coquitlam Express. Sitting in the last playoff spot in the Mainland Division, Surrey has struggled after the Christmas break dropping back to back games to the Chilliwack Chiefs and another loss to Langley in their last outing.
Recent injuries have left a few holes in the Eagles roster with notable scratches being Jonah Renouf and Colton Mackie. Renouf has been out since last weekend when he was caught by a big hit that left the team’s number one scorer requiring medical attention on the ice and an overnight stay in the hospital.
Renouf is with the team this weekend for their trip to Prince George and is waiting for the doctor’s approval to get back in the lineup. The same can’t be said of Mackie who has been out since December 28th. The injuries open up two spots for a pair of affiliate players in Matthew Houston and Quinn Lenihan.
Even with the APs in the lineup, the Surrey Eagles come into the game tonight one player short of a full bench. Ahead of the trade deadline, the Eagles were involved in two pretty significant player transactions that included their captain. Brett Mulcahy was traded to the Vernon Vipers in exchange for Chase McMurphy and future considerations.
McMurphy is expected to centre the Eagles top line tonight with Danton Heinen and Joesph Drapluk. In another transaction, Surrey picked up Anthony Conti and future considerations in exchange for Nicholas Pierog. Conti will play on the left wing with Nathan Renouf at centre and Braeden Russell on the other side.
As the trade deadline closes in for another year, the Spruce Kings have made only one move of note. In a deal made just ahead of puck drop on Sunday, the Spruce Kings and Chiefs traded D-men sending Caleb Thompson to Chilliwack in exchange for Cooper Rush. In an unfortunate turn of events, Rush was hit low and is now out of the lineup undergoing treatment and may miss the next two to four weeks.
This time of the year can be seen as a stressful time for players, coaches, management and fans alike with the knowledge that teams are looking to get better for the playoff stretch. The Spruce Kings are very much in the hunt for a home start to the playoffs and want to make sure they are positioned for a long post-season run. Before that though there are 19 more games in the regular season including this double header this weekend against the Surrey Eagles.
Puck drop is scheduled is for 7pm at the Prince George Coliseum with the game broadcast live online with a pay-per-view feed available from Fasthockey.com and a free audio only webcast on the Spruce Kings Mixlr Channel beginning with a pregame show at 6:40pm. Coming up in the first intermission, Ron Gallo will talk to Spruce Kings alumni and former captain Brody Mott about what it is like from a player's perspective to be dealt during the trade deadline. In the second intermission, Gallo will also talk with current captain, Bryant Christian. Ron St. Clair and Tom Bohmer will have the complete call of the game.