Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Game Preview vs Merritt Centennials



Goals For
Goals Against
15.69% (15th)
Power Play
21.31% (5th)
69.39% (16th)
Penalty Kill
60% (17th)

Venue: Nicola Valley Arena
Game Time: 7pm
Last Year’s Matchup: The Spruce Kings won one game, and lost the other in overtime to the Centennials last season.
Season Series: Split two games in the pre-season with each team winning on the road.

Merritt Home Record: 2-4-0-0
Centennials Leading Scorer: Zak Bowles (8 goals, 8 assists, 16pts) 

Prince George Road Record: 2-3-0-1
Spruce Kings Leading Scorer: Corey Hoffman and Braiden Epp (each with 8 pts)

Player to watch:
Spruce Kings:
As the player with the most points per game, Bryan Basilico has been a welcome addition for the Spruce Kings since joining the team from the Trial Smoke Eaters earlier in the season. He didn’t manage a win against his old team last week, but answered with 3 points in the next two games, and received the nod as 1st star of the game Sunday against Salmon Arm after scoring once, and creating the turnover to cause the game winning goal.
Now in his third weekend with the team Jarod Hovde has been a hit with the team. Hovde got in a fight against Trail’s Nei Noi Tetteh, and although the team didn’t come back to win, it gave them life in the third, and propelled them forward over the next two games. He doesn’t have a point yet with the team, but has been a player coach Chad Van Diemen can count on, as he’s been the first one out lately for penalty kills.

In the pre-season, Merritt didn’t ice many veterans in either games, but Michael Faulkner was a stand out in the second game. He managed to score the single goal for his team, basically twisting through the entire Spruce King defence to score. He had a pair of points last week in a 2-1 win over the Salmon Arm Silverbacks, and is up to seven points (all assists) in 12 games this season.

In the Standings:
After beating Salmon Arm, and Surrey losing to Cowichan Valley on Sunday, the Prince George are now out of the Mainland Division basement. This weekend will be tough for the team, and even if they win all three they won’t move in the standings, but any points earned against a tough Interior Division weekend will go a long ways.
Speaking of that tough division, Merritt sits fourth in the Interior, despite having the fourth best goals per game average in the entire league. They’ve lost three of their last four games, but with a win can pass Vernon, and take third place in the division. 

Special Teams Battle:
When it comes to special teams, penalty killing doesn’t jump out for either team. Prince George has the 2nd worst PK, and Merritt is at the bottom of the pile. On the other hand, their power play units are different ends of the spectrum. Merritt’s man advantage is clicking at 21.31% good for 5th in the league, while Prince George is in 15th. The Spruce Kings have been improving though, and had four PPG goals last weekend (stats recorded it as five, but one goal was improperly recorded as being scored on the man advantage). Regardless, the Spruce Kings more than doubled their number of power play goals last weekend, so there are signs of improvement in that field.

Broadcast Info: For all games, you can listen to the action on Mixlr

 or watch live at BCHL FASTHockey

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