First-place Spruce Kings hit the road

The Prince George Citizen - - SPORTS - Ted CLARKE Cit­i­zen staff

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.”

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