Road-weary Kings end trip with loss

The Prince George Citizen - - SPORTS - Cit­i­zen staff

Af­ter com­plet­ing their long­est stretch of road games in the 2017-18 B.C. Hockey League sea­son, the Prince Ge­orge Spruce Kings are re­lieved to be stick­ing close to home for most of Novem­ber.

They wrapped up their sec­ond con­sec­u­tive three-games-in-three-days road trip Sun­day in Sur­rey with a 4-2 loss to the Ea­gles, a game in which the Kings out­shot their op­po­nents 28-24.

The Ea­gles scored three unan­swered goals in the third pe­riod to lock away the vic­tory. Desi Bur­gart started the come­back 43 sec­onds into the fi­nal pe­riod and Domenic Masel­lis and Cody Schi­avon fol­lowed up with goals 16 sec­onds apart in the sev­enth minute of the pe­riod to cap the scor­ing.

Jef­frey Ste­wart had the other Sur­rey goal. Kyle John­son and Ethan de Jong scored for the Spruce Kings, who led 2-1 af­ter two pe­ri­ods.

Brad Cooper took the loss in net for the Kings, stop­ping 20 of 24 shots. Nic Tal­lerico im­proved his record to 5-1-0-0, mak­ing 26 saves.

The Ea­gles had the only power play of the game, in the sec­ond pe­riod, but failed to score.

Satur­day night in Lan­g­ley, the first-place Lan­g­ley River­men cre­ated a bit more breath­ing room for them­selves atop the Main­land Di­vi­sion stand­ings when they beat the Spruce Kings 2-1.

Bren­dan Budy, late in the first pe­riod, and An­gus Cruick­shank, on a River­men power play 3:23 into the third, were the Lan­g­ley goal- scor­ers. John­son cut the lead in half 6:54 into the third pe­riod but that’s as close as it got for the visi­tors from the north.

Brae­don Flem­ing blocked 18 of 19 shots in net for Lan­g­ley. The River­men (9-3-6-0) fired 21 shots at Kings goalie Evan DeBrouwer.

The win moved the River­men three points ahead of the Spruce Kings and they went on to beat Al­berni Val­ley 5-1 Sun­day in Sur­rey to widen the gap to five points.

The Spruce Kings (8-7-2-3) are now just one point ahead of third-place Chilli­wack and the fourth-place Ea­gles, who have iden­ti­cal 9-8-1-1 records. The Kings, who played eight straight on the road in Oc­to­ber, be­gan their trip Fri­day night in Chilli­wack with a 3-0 win over the Chiefs. They host Lan­g­ley in a two-game set at Rolling Mix Con­crete Arena this week­end.

James Porter made 27 saves, in­clud­ing a penalty shot stop on Cougars cen­tre Bro­gan O’Brien with 5:23 gone in the sec­ond pe­riod. O’Brien was awarded the penalty shot af­ter get­ting hacked from be­hind while try­ing to score on Porter on a short­handed break­away. On the penalty shot, Porter kicked out his leg to poke the puck away from O’Brien.

Shots were 30-28 in favour of the Rock­ets.

Cougars’ goalie Tay­lor Gau­thier, 16, made 26 saves in his last game with the Cougars be­fore he headed out Mon­day to the World Un­der-17 Hockey Chal­lenge in Daw­son Creek/ Fort St. John to play for Team Canada White.

“I thought it was a pretty tight game,” said Cougars as­sis­tant coach Steve O’Rourke. “I felt we out­played them in the first pe­riod and didn’t get a cou­ple bounces.

“It’s kind of the grow­ing pains of a young goal­tender and Tay­lor played re­ally well but I’m sure he’d want prob­a­bly all three of those goals back. Two of them (he was) over­ac­tive with his stick and got lost there, and the third one, I don’t think he got screened. He got beat with the shot. He gave us a chance to hang in there, it’s just those grow­ing pains you have with a 16-year-old in net and that lit­tle bit of stick play cost him.”

The Rock­ets (7-5-1-1, sec­ond in the B.C. Di­vi­sion) moved two points ahead of the Cougars (5-6-2-2, third in B.C.). There of Kelowna’s seven wins have come against the Cougars. They beat the Cats at CN Cen­tre twice in over­time, 7-6 on Oct. 6 and 4-3 on Oct. 7.

“You break it down, three games against th­ese guys and we prob­a­bly could be un­de­feated and at the very worst, two wins and tie here and over­time tonight,” said O’Rourke. “We played hard but it wasn’t quite enough tonight.

— see LABAR­BERA, page 10

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