First-place Spruce Kings hit the road
By their own admission, the Prince George Spruce Kings did not play their best game Wednesday night in a 3-2 overtime win over the visiting Merritt Centennials.
They trailed for the better part of two periods, took a few too many penalties and relied a bit too much on the goaltending of 20-year-old veteran Evan DeBrouwer.
But the bottom line is they won, as they’ve done so often this season while zooming to the top of the charts in the B.C. Hockey League.
“That was a resilient win, we had a lot of shifts we would have liked to do differently, a lot of plays that didn’t go our way, but in the end we had guys step up and get the job done for us and that speaks to our mindset as a team,” said Kings captain Kyle Johnson.
“I think we’ve worked really hard so far, it’s still early and we’re not the perfect team in anyone’s eyes yet but we’ve worked really hard and the record is a testament to that.”
The Spruce Kings (7-3-1-1, first in Mainland Division) begin a two-game roadtrip tonight in Surrey against the Eagles (3-7-1-1), then head to Langley to face the second-place Rivermen (4-25-0) for the first time this season.
Kings defenceman Layton Ahac, 16, is stating his case to make one of the three teams Canada will enter in the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, Nov. 5-11 in Dawson Creek and Fort St. John.
Ahac is on a six-game point streak and scored the gamewinner 17 seconds into overtime Wednesday against Merritt and in Saturday’s 4-3 regulation win at home over Surrey.
The next eight games for the Spruce Kings are on the road. Looking at their record, tied in points for first overall in the BCHL with West Kelowna and Vernon, teams are not going to be taking the Kings lightly.
“Obviously it is a bit of grind here coming up and we have to simplify our game on the road and find a way to win in other team’s rinks,” said head coach Adam Maglio. “Teams are playing us tough, which is good though. We need to get through this time of year and play against good opponents and build our game into the end of the year when we want to be at our best.
“We just need to find a bit of finish on our shots, that’s what we need to work on.”