|Chad Staley and the Spruce Kings will meet|
for the third time this season and first time in Prince George
After a rare Saturday night off, the Prince George Spruce Kings are back on the ice in their 53rd game of the season against the Nanaimo Clippers. Playing in different divisions, the Spruce Kings and Clippers have already met twice with Nanaimo winning both games 3-1 at the BCHL Showcase on the opening weekend of play and 4-1 four weeks ago in Nanaimo.
In that meeting, the Clippers came out quick and cashed in on some early chances scoring 4 first period goals en route to the win on home ice. The Spruce Kings have to be wary of that quick start again tonight and they should be, having suffered a similar fate on Friday night against the Langley Rivermen.
Although the Spruce Kings were able to erase a three goal deficit in the first period on Friday night, they could not fully recover and saw their attempted comeback fall short with a 4-3 loss. When the team was down in that first period, it was the captain that led the charge for Prince George pouncing on a loose puck at the side of the net. Mitch Eden helped to set up that goal and then added two more for the cause scoring late in the first period and early in the second.
The Spruce Kings have ten more points in two fewer games than the Clippers so far this season, but would love nothing more than to pick up another win on the season in their game in hand on the Langley Rivermen. Prince George is still very much in the running for top spot in the Mainland Division and for top spot overall in the BCHL sitting eight points behind the number one team with three more head-to-head games to be played against the Rivermen.
The day of rest should be of benefit for both teams as the Spruce Kings have been a bit banged up of late and are just getting back to healthy. Cooper Rush remains the only player on the injured list but the expectation is that the 6 foot 7 towering defenceman will be able to join the team late next week and get in a game or two before the end of the regular season.
The Nanaimo Clippers are coming off an 8-2 win over the Chiefs in Chilliwack on Friday night which gave them a better than .500 record in their last ten (5-4-0-1). On the road the Clippers have a record of 12-13-1-1 and will be looking to make that a .500 record as well. The Spruce Kings on home ice have been performing very well and have not lost back-to-back games in front of the Castle faithful.
After this game, the Spruce Kings will head out on the road for their final set of away games – a three game set with stops in Coquitlam, Chilliwack and Langley. The following weekend will feature a double header versus Langley to close out the regular season. The playoffs will begin in Prince George March 4th and 5th.
The matinee game, with puck drop at 3pm, 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 2:40pm.