The Prince George Spruce Kings look to take the season series away from the Surrey Eagles tonight as the two teams play their final regular season game against each other. The two teams have split seven games evenly down the middle and have seven points each with three regulation time wins and a single point in a 4-4 tie.
Tonight’s game also completes this weekend’s doubler header that saw the Spruce Kings take the first half in a wild 6-3 final. Both teams tallied a controversial goal and created lots of chances to put the other team away, but in the end it was a hat trick from Brent Lashuk that capped off the Prince George victory.
For Lashuk, this was his second hat trick of the season and, coincidentally enough, both came against the Surrey Eagles. Not only were both against the same team, but both were tallied in Prince George on the first game of a double header. In both cases Lashuk scored all three goals in consecutive order for the Spruce Kings.
With the similarities between the two games, it begs the question, “what happened on the second night?” Well the Spruce Kings will be looking to avoid that repeat as they dropped a close 2-1 decision to the Eagles who earned their split.
This is the third double header of the season between the two teams and in the first it was the Surrey Eagles that had the lopsided win on night one while the two teams took home the single point on night two. As it all goes to show, these two teams are far more evenly matched than either side probably wants them to be.
Despite the loss, the Surrey Eagles come in to the game tonight feeling like they deserved a better fate and can be expected to play as well and perhaps better than they did a night ago. Despite missing two key players including the team leading scorer in Jonah Renouf, the newly acquired Eagles filled in nicely with both Anthony Conti and Chase McMurphy picking up goals.
The Spruce Kings will want to continue what worked for them last night and capitalize on their chances but the coaching staff will also want to see a lot more defensive accountability as well. For head coach Dave Dupas and assistant coach Colton Buffie, there were a few too many missed assignments that led to odd man rushes and goal mouth scrambles. In the third period, the Eagles seemed to take over momentum when they were credited for a goal after the puck slid along the goal line and was ruled to have crossed it before Alex Murray could clear it away.
The goal inspired the Eagles and led to another shot that left half the building wondering if it had actually hit the inside cross bar and should have actually been a goal. The Eagles did add a third goal on their fifth powerplay of the game, but then popped their own balloon after taking a penalty with less than three minutes remaining. Prince George was able to end the game on a high note when Bryant Christian found the puck in the neutral zone and unselfishly looked off the lone defender before passing the puck to Brent Lashuk for the empty net finisher and hat trick goal.
The Prince George Spruce Kings are looking to keep pace with the Langley Rivermen in the chase for top spot in the Mainland Division while the Surrey Eagles have their sights set on the Coquitlam Express and third place. Both the Express and the Rivermen are in action tonight in Vernon and Chilliwack respectfully.
Tonight's game is the fifth Prince George Motors Feature Game of the Month on the Drive and will be broadcast live on 99.3 FM Listen Live Link. The game will also be available on Fasthockey.com as a pay-per-view broadcast. The pregame show begins at 6:45 with puck drop at 7pm from the Prince George Coliseum. Ron St. Clair, Thomas Bohmer and Ron Gallo will bring you all the action from the Castle on 99.3 the Drive.