De­pleted Spruce Kings hit the road

The Prince George Citizen - - Sports - Ted CLARKE Cit­i­zen staff [email protected]­i­t­i­zen.ca

In­juries and ill­nesses are part of the game for hockey teams and the Prince Ge­orge Spruce Kings, just four games into the sea­son, have al­ready been af­fected.

They’re in Chilli­wack to play the Chiefs (1-3-0-0) tonight to start their first road­trip and they’ll do so with­out winger Corey Cun­ning­ham and de­fence­men Brendan Hill and Cole Leal.

Cun­ning­ham is out with the flu and did not board the bus on Thurs­day. Hill, a Lake Su­pe­rior State re­cruit from Michi­gan, suf­fered a day-to-day lower-body in­jury in the first pe­riod of Satur­day’s game against the Pen­tic­ton Vees when he fell into the boards af­ter a shoul­deron-shoul­der hit with Vees cap­tain David Si­lye.

Leal, an­other first-year de­fence­man, is nurs­ing a high-an­kle sprain he hurt two weeks ago in the sea­son-opener against Sur­rey. He’s ex­pected to be out at least two more weeks.

The good news is the Kings will have Nick Bochen back to health for the game in Chilli­wack. An undis­closed in­jury limited the Univer­sity of Michi­gan re­cruit to just power-play duty in their 4-3 over­time loss to Pen­tic­ton Satur­day at Rolling Mix Con­crete Arena but he drew an as­sist on Chong Min Lee’s ty­ing goal late in the game with goalie Jack Mc­Gov­ern on the bench.

De­fence­man Sol Seibel, a 20-year-old ac­quired in an Au­gust fu­ture con­sid­er­a­tions trade with the Salmon Arm Sil­ver­backs, left the Kings af­ter just one game and has re­turned to his home in Kam­loops.

“He left the team and has de­cided not to play hockey,” said Kings head coach Alex Evin.

Hill and Leal on the shelf and Seibel gone, af­fil­i­ated player Brendan Wang, 17, got the call from the Burn­aby Win­ter Club midget prep team to join the Kings on the road.

The de­fend­ing B.C. Hockey League cham­pion Spruce Kings (1-1-2-0) left the ice Satur­day dis­ap­pointed with their loss to the high-fly­ing Vees (4-0-0-0) but feel­ing sat­is­fied with how well they con­tained their op­po­nents on the week­end, which started with a 6-1 win over the Vic­to­ria Griz­zlies.

“We got three of four points against two good teams,” said Evin.

For most of the Pen­tic­ton game they were down to just four de­fence­men, in­clud­ing rook­ies Am­ran Bhabra, 16, and 17-year-old Colton Cameron.

“We played re­ally well against Pen­tic­ton and held them to two shots in the third pe­riod and over­time and they scored on both of them,” said Evin.

“We out­shot them 18-2 from the third pe­riod on and I don’t think too many teams will do that.”

Mc­Gov­ern, 17, in his first ca­reer BCHL start, made 14 saves in the loss to Pen­tic­ton and Evin liked what he saw out of the Wa­ter­down, Ont., na­tive.

“I wanted him to play one of our first four games and he did quite well,” said Evin.

“We didn’t win but we gave up two short­handed goals and the chances are not ones we’d blame on our goal­tender. He de­served to be in there.”

The Kings move on to Lan­g­ley to face the River­men Satur­day night (7:15 p.m. start), then play the Ex­press in Co­quit­lam on Sun­day (3 p.m.). This is the Kings’ only three-games-in-three-days road­trip in 2019-20. Last sea­son they had eight.

Game time in Chilli­wack tonight is 7 p.m.

CIT­I­ZEN PHOTO BY JAMES DOYLE

Mem­bers of the Prince Ge­orge Spruce Kings were only a few of the roughly 350 peo­ple of all ages that walked, ran, biked, or wheeled their way around the five kilo­me­tre route while tak­ing part in the 39th an­nual Prince Ge­orge Terry Fox Run on Sun­day at Lhei­dli T’en­neh Memo­rial Park.

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