Heading into 2016, the Spruce Kings had a big game against the team they were chasing in the playoffs. With the Coquitlam Express hosting, the Spruce Kings sat 15 points back of the 4th playoff position that Coquitlam holds.
The action was back and forth all night, with the teams trading goals, and never taking more than a two goal lead.
Scoring was started by Coquitlam, and Austin McIlmurray burst down the right side of the ice, and snapped a shot far side past McCloskey just 32 seconds into the game.
Nic Ponak would respond for the Spruce Kings though, knocking home a rebound for his second goal in three games. Liam Watson-Brawn took the original shot from the blueline, and the assist on the play marked his first BCHL point. It was the Burnaby Winter Club callup’s fifth game with the team, and the first since committing to play with Prince George for next season.
A few minutes later with Jarod Hovde in the box for slashing, Coquitlam’s power play unit with the best success at home went to work. Jackson Cressey took a pass from Colton Kerfoot, and banked a shot in to retake the lead at 2-1.
Hovde would redeem himself with 35 seconds to go, as he managed to bury a shot past Lawson Fenton to tie the game at two heading into the first intermission.
Austin McIllmurray would score again in the second to give him a double for the night. The third period then saw his minor hockey teammate Matt Stief score with just under 10 minutes remaining in regulation to tie things up.
The game looked to be heading to overtime, but Coquitlam had other plans as the big ine of Cressey-Kerfoor-McIllurray was sent out for one last push. As the Spruce Kings were focussing on them in the corner, Taylor Green opened up at the blue line, and took a feed from Jake Brien before slapping home the game winning goal with 25 seconds left.
Liam McCloskey made his first start of the new year, stopping 29 of 33 shots. It marked the first game of Joseph McLeod suiting up in the backup role, after being signed from the Castlegar Rebels of the Kootenay Junior Hockey League.