Spruce Kings keep win streak alive

The early morning alarm for the Spruce Kings may have affected the play at the beginning of their first of two games at the 2017 Bauer BCHL Showcase in Chilliwack on Friday.

However, the stellar second half netminding of rookie Brad Cooper propelled Prince George to their fourth-straight win, a 4-3 triumph over the Merritt Centennials.

Cooper made 33 saves on 36 shots in the contest, while Cents goaltender Jacob Berger stopped 35 shots out of 39.

Merritt, the designated home team, got things going just under four minutes into the first period as Centreman Henry Cleghorn tallied game’s first goal for the 1-0 lead.

A second-period surge by both teams saw a combined five goals in under 15 minutes.

Spruce Kings’ forward Ethan de Jong began the spree 95 seconds in to tie the game at 1-1, but the Cents would grab the lead back quickly, just 41 seconds later.

Michigan-import Dustin Manz potted his second of the 2017-18 season on a power-play later in the frame, but once again, Merritt rallied to another one-goal lead, courtesy of Chase Bell.

Forward Ben Poisson took advantage of some free space, and a nice pass from de Jong, evening the game up at 3-3 through 40 minutes.

Prince George alternate captain Jarod Hovde would seal the full comeback win 103 seconds into the third period.

The red, white, and blue’s record remains unbeaten (in regulation) at 4-0-1-0, while the Merritt Centennials are still winless at 0-6-0-0.

De Jong and Poisson each recorded a goal and an apple, earning them the First and Third Star honours respectively; Cleghorn’s opening goal for Merritt was rewarded with the game’s Second Star.

The Spruce Kings will face the Victoria Grizzlies Saturday afternoon, their first clash with an Island Division opponent and their final game of the BCHL Showcase.

Prince George will be the designated home team; puck-drop goes for 4 p.m. at the Prospera Centre.

-Spruce Kings

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