Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Tough Two Weekends

The Interior Division has always been one of, if not THE toughest division in the BCHL. That's not good news for the Spruce Kings, as they currently sit at 1-6-0-1 and the next two weekends will be against only interior teams.

This Friday they will play Trail who they beat at the showcase, but things will get progressively tougher from there on. Saturday the team will be in Vernon, who swept the Spruce Kings in pre-season play outscoring them 8-3 in two games. You could say that it's "just pre-season" but both sides iced teams close to what they are now. Of course after trades the Spruce Kings have a number of new faces for the Vipers to deal with. They'll finish up on Sunday, when they have their first meeting of the year against Salmon Arm. The Silverbacks strong on both sides of the ice this season, as they rank 4th in the league for both goals for, and goals against.

Next weekend they play Merritt on Thursday who split two pre-season games with the Spruce Kings, but currently have the highest scoring offence in the BCHL. Friday is against the Penticton Vees who are always a challenge, especially in their own rink, and things wrap up on Saturday with a game against the West Kelowna Warriors who have also gotten off to a strong start.
Kyle Johnson (left) and Cavin Tilsley (2nd from right) race to get on the back check
Photo By: Les Gagnon

This is will mark the first roadtrips of the season with Prince George for Bryan Basilico, Jarod Hovde, and Matthew Stief (although he was on the team last year). All three impressed in their first games at the castle, with Basilico scoring in his first game on the power play. Hovde was strong on both ends of the ice, and Stief was a solidifying force on the back end. After some early changes this team is still just coming together, so hopefully these two roadtrips can help them bond, and they can come home with some wins.

Special team will be huge for the team these next two weeks. Both are great means of silencing crowds, and with all six teams besides Merritt averaging over 1,000 fans per game that will be extremely important. Prince George is last in the league for power play scoring, and second last in penalty killing. If the Spruce Kings can capitalize on their man advantages they can quiet the crowd, and give themselves more space on the ice as teams are less likely to play with an edge when the other team can make them power while up a man. With a penalty kill only ahead of Merritt, the Spruce Kings can turn the home crowds against their own teams with enough kills, because there isn't much worse then seeing your team fail on the man advantage time and time again.

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