Manz’s hat trick leads Spruce Kings past Clippers

The top forward line of the Prince George Spruce Kings was clearly on another level against the Nanaimo Clippers.

Ben Brar, Patrick Cozzi and Dustin Manz rammed it down the Nanaimo Clippers throats on Friday night thanks to a masterful 11 point night between the trio, leading the hosts to a 5-3 victoryin front 1,051 fans at the Rolling Mix Concrete Arena.

Manz was the most notable out of three posting a hat-trick and an assist in the contest.

“It feels really good, we’re getting rewarded for our hard work and being first in the league right now is a huge accomplishment.”

Even though Prince George held a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes, it would be the Clippers who struck first in the opening on a great individual effort shorthanded by Thomas Samuelson who beat newly-acquired goaltender Keenan Rancier for a 1-0 lead.

Rancier exacted his revenge on Nanaimo in the second period with four point-black saves, many of them came of the stick of Clippers forward Ethan Scardina.

Brar potted a highlight reel goal of his own 2:52 into the third period finishing off a three-way scoring play involving Jay Keranen and Cozzi to make it 3-1.

The intensity of the game ramped up even more as Danny Gatenby blasted a slapshot past a screened Rancier to make it 3-2.

Josh Bourne then evened the score at 3-3 right after a Clippers power-play had expired.

However, the tie was short-lived as Ben Poisson smoked a wrist shot top shelf on the power-play keeping the Spruce Kings on top for good.

While his numbers might not have been spectacular on paper, Rancier collected his first win as a Spruce King with an 18-save performance.

“It felt food to be back in the BCHL again and it felt good winning the game too against Nanaimo so I loved it out there.”

“When I got dropped off to Junior B obviously it was a big adjustment and I had to kind of handle it mentally but was good development for me and then when the Spruce Kings picked me up I said yes in a heart beat to come here and play for one of the best teams in Canada.”

The win keeps Prince George in first place in the Mainland Division as well as the overall league standings with a mark of 23-8-1-2, three points up on the Chilliwack Chiefs but the Chiefs have two game in hand.

Prince George concludes its seven game homestand next Friday and Saturday against the Surrey Eagles with puck drop at 7 pm from the RMCA.