Thursday, September 10, 2015

Pre-Game: Spruce Kings vs Wenatchee Wild


Pre-Season Statistics
Last Seasons’s Matchup
Goals For
Goals Against
Home Record
Away Record

Venue: The Coliseum, Prince George
Game Time: 7pm
Season Series: N/A

Fun Fact: In their last five home openers, the Prince George Spruce Kings have always taken at least a point away going 3-0-0-2

Player to watch:

Spruce Kings:
Adam Brubacher – D: One of the off season additions, Brubacher spent the last three seasons with his hometown Elmira Sugar Kings. The 6’3’ defenceman picked up two assists against the Grande Prairie Storm, and that should come as no surprise seeing as how he had 45 points in 48 games last year. Born in ’95, Brubacher will be expected to be a leader both on and off the ice.
Braiden Epp – FW: A Prince George native, Epp missed the first three pre-season games with an ankle injury. In his first game back in the lineup, he scored a power play goal, and had numerous chances in the following game. Having scored the most goals last year of any Spruce King player, Epp will again be counted on to find mesh this season.

Wenatchee Wild:
Kyle Stephan - FW: Has the most points of any Wild player with 42 points in 53 games last season split between Wenatchee and the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees. From Barrie, Ontario Stephan has picked up right where he left off, scoring against the Coquitlam Express, and then picking up a goal and two assists in the team’s latest game against Surrey.
Chase Perry - G: After playing for the Wild two years ago, Perry spent last year in the NCAA with Colorado College. Now the 2014 Detroit Red Wings draft pick is back in Wenatchee, and was perfect in both exhibition games against Coquitlam and Chilliwack stopping all 55 shots in the two games.

BCHL Expansion: This will mark the first game in the BCHL for the Wenatchee Wild. They will be the first team from the U.S.A since the Bellingham Ice Hawks played in the league from 1990 to 1995. Although this is their first year in the BCHL, that doesn’t mean it’s their first season. They have operated in the North American Hockey League since 2008, and have never had a losing record. The team also has a great fan base, with an average attendance of nearly 3,000 people in last year’s 30 home games. Being an American club, they will be allowed to have up to four players on their roster from Canada. One of the players will be right at home this weekend in Prince George, as Daniel Nachbaur spent the end of last season with the team, and before that he spent the last season and a half with the Merritt Centennials.

Pre-Season Recaps:

Prince George Spruce Kings
The Spruce Kings went 1-3-0-1 in their pre-season games this year. It started out with a pair of games against the Merritt Centennials, where Prince George dropped the first game 7-4 in what was a young roster for both teams. The team would dress an older lineup the next night, and take a 4-1 decision over the Centennials who stuck with a younger team. The Spruce Kings then travelled across the border to Alberta where they took on the Grande Prairie Storm, and dropped a heart breaking 4-3 overtime loss. The Spruce Kings led 2-1 in the third, but then allowed two goals for the Storm to take their first lead. Kyle Johnson would erase that almost immediately though putting one home to tie the game and send it to the extra frame. Then less than a minute in, Josh Zablocki would play hero for the home team burying one past McCloskey for the win. To close things out, Prince George dropped a pair of games 5-3 and 3-0 against a very good Vernon Viper side, but coach Chad van Diemen said their final game where they lost 3-0 was the best the team had played in the exhibition games, so that was a bright spot ahead of the season. Special teams were very different for the team, as they had good success on the penalty kill, but struggled to get much going while up a man, so that is one area the team has focussed on in practice.

Wenatchee Wild:
The Wenatchee Wild had one blemish in their pre-season. That wasn’t a loss, but one single goal. In three games, the Wild outscored their opponents 14-1. Chase Perry the Detroit Red Wings prospect was perfect in his two games, stopping a combined 55 saves in his two games against Coquitlam and Chilliwack to collect the shutouts. Those games were 6-0 over Coquitlam, and 4-0 over Chilliwack, the reigning mainland champions. The final game was against Surrey, where Garrett Nieto allowed one goal on twelve shots to lead his team to a 4-1 win over Surrey. After a very successful pre-season, it doesn’t look like the Wild are having nerves in their first year in the BCHL.

Injuries: One of the new additions for the Spruce Kings, Frank Sullivan will be out of the game, after suffering an upper body injury in the team’s home game against Merritt last Friday.

Broadcast Info: Friday’s game offers a trio of options for viewing or listening to the game! Tune into 99.3 The Drive, watch on BCHL FASTHockey or listen on Mixlr.

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