SPRUCE KINGS MOVE UP IN BCHL STANDINGS
Ben Poisson’s leadership qualities made him an obvious choice as captain of the Prince George Spruce Kings.
Saturday night at Rolling Mix Concrete Arena the 20-year-old centre let his actions speak louder than words.
Poisson gained the puck on the right wing side of the ice and let go a wrist shot that found the net behind Penticton Vees goalie Derek Krall. Poisson’s second goal of the game and eighth of the season, 1:46 into overtime, gave the Kings a 3-2 victory which moved them back into second place in the B.C. Hockey League’s Mainland Division.
They started the weekend with a 2-1 win over the visiting Alberni Valley Bulldogs.
“After losing kind of a tough game on Sunday (in Salmon Arm) we needed to have a good weekend to kick off the homestand the right way – especially with how tight our division is this year, we need all the points we can get,” said Poisson, a University of Maine recruit for 2019-20.
Poisson’s first of the night 6:44 into the third period gave the Kings a 2-1 lead, which lasted only about a minute. James Miller tied it for the Vees at the 8:10 mark on a Penticton power play.
Ryan Sandelin staked the Vees to a 1-0 lead with the only goal of the first period. Ben Brar evened the count in the second period with his team-leading 16th of the season, and also assisted on Poisson’s goal in the third period. Kings winger Patrick Cozzi picked up two assists.
Shots were 26-19 in favour of the Kings. Logan Neaton improved his record to 11-3-0.
“It was a really good game overall – both teams prepared well and both teams played really good games, it just ended up going to overtime because we were so well-matched,” said Poisson, whose team beat the Vees 3-2 at the BCHL Showcase in Chilliwack in September. “It was a one-goal game or tied for the most part and we were able to roll four lines and play everyone. Everyone got into it on both teams and it was a good battle.
“Just talking to (Spruce Kings general manager Mike) Hawes after the game, he said the games we played against Penticton this year have been some of the best games in the league, they were such good games.”
The Spruce Kings (14-60-1) are tied in points with the third-place Coquitlam Express (14-6-1-0) but occupy second place based on their 3-1 head-tohead record against the Express.
“It’s nice to finally come up the leaderboard, we’ve had a pretty good season this year, it’s just the other teams in our division have also had a good year and it’s nice to start seeing a bit of change here,” said Poisson. “Last year we finished first in our division but overall in the league we were fourth and this year, 1-2-3 in the league is the top three in our division.”
Saturday’s win moved Prince George closer to the first-overall Chilliwack Chiefs, who lost 4-3 Saturday to the visiting Salmon Arm Silverbacks. Then on Sunday afternoon the Chiefs (17-7-0-0) restored their fivepoint gap over the Spruce Kings when they beat Alberni Valley 7-4 in Chilliwack.
The Kings host Langley in their next games, Friday and Saturday at RMCA.