|Austin Gray (2) scored his first BCHL goal in his first BCHL game|
Tonight marks the final regular season game for both of these playoff bound teams. It is also the ninth and final meeting of the year between the Langley Rivermen and the Prince George Spruce Kings. Both teams have played each other extremely close all year.
After the win last night, the Langley Rivermen took over a point lead on the Spruce Kings with a record of 4-3-1-0 while Prince George’s record sits at 3-3-1-1 against their Mainland Divisional rival. Both teams have scored the same number of goals against each other.
One of the most thrilling goals scored last night came off the stick of the callup, Austin Gray. The sixteen year old Midget AAA player was probably thinking he was going to be filling in for one of the vacancies on the blue line; instead he found himself in a forward role. Gray looked good and often went to the dirty areas in front of the net and that’s where his goal came from as he was able to poke in the loose puck to put Prince George on the board.
After securing a NCAA scholarship to the University of Alaska Fairbanks to play for the Nanooks in the 2015-16 season, Chad Staley tied the game 2-2 picking the top corner while the Spruce Kings were on the powerplay. Braiden Epp scored the other Prince George goal early in the third period, again to tie the game this time a three a-piece. Epp’s goal came after he got into a spirited tilt with Darien Craighead in the second period.
The Langley Rivermen never trailed in the game last night and a slick wrap around late in the third period proved to be the difference in the game. Credit to a depleted Spruce Kings bench that started the game one body short with injuries keeping Cooper Rush, Karan Toor, Skylar Pacheco and Justin Rai sidelined. The injury news has gotten worse with Brent Lashuk suffering a lower body injury that may keep the nineteen year old power forward out of the lineup through the playoffs.
Game time decisions will be made on Toor, Pacheco and Rai as the team gets ready to play their final regular season game and has a chance to tie a franchise record in points. Two seasons ago, the Spruce Kings amassed 72 points in a 60 game regular season schedule. This year, Prince George sits with 70 points through 57 games.
Saturday night the team will hold its annual player awards banquet and silent auction at the Coast Inn of the North. It is open to the public and tickets can be purchased in the Spruce Kings office for $29.00 or at the Coast Inn of the North.
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. Join Ron St. Clair, Thomas Bohmer and Ron Gallo for all the play-by-play of the final regular season game.