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Spruce Kings shake the Rivermen monkey off their backs

Tavin Grant in his 9th straight game made 33 saves for the victory. Photo By: James Doyle Photography

Last season the Spruce Kings were 0-6-1-0 against the Langley Rivermen. They erased that goose egg in the first meeting, as they finally met the Rivermen halfway through the season and came away with a 5-3 thriller.

The first period saw each team unsuccessful on a pair of man-advantages. Heading in the game, Langley had 10 power play goals in the last five games. It was Parker Colley breaking the silence 8:15 in as he intercepted a pass from McKay Flanagan, and outwaited Bo Didur before sliding the puck through the netminder’s legs. Didur making his first start since November 19th, had allowed just seven goals in four games against the Spruce Kings last season. The Rivermen wouldn’t let Prince George head the intermission with a lead though, as it was Angus Crookshank putting in a highlight reel goal. After scoring on his first shift of his first game last season up in Prince George as an affiliate player of the Rivermen, Crookshank drove down the right wing, and cut in before tucking the puck in far side to even the game with 54 seconds remaining in the first.

Langley would take their first lead of the game 11:37 into the second with Satchel Clendenin picking the top left corner immediately off a draw following the BCHL media timeout. This time it was Prince George coming up with a late goal to tie things up as Prince George was able to break through on their third power play. Drew Lennon snapped  a shot from the right point, and Jarod Hovde in front of the net was able to bang in his 11th of the season to put him 2nd in team goal scoring. The goal came with 1:08 remaining.

After four goals combined in the first two periods, the third is where the scoring came alive as the two teams scored another four total. The Rivermen got off to a hot start, as it took just 30 seconds for Andrew Dumaresque to restore the Langley lead. The Spruce Kings faithful were a little worried as they looked on after seeing their team drop the last two games. Prince George would dig in their heels though, and scored the next three goals. After a dump in off the back wall, Ben Poisson was able to recover the puck in front of the net, and jam in his 6th goal of the year at the 3:43 mark. That was followed up two minutes later with a great shift by the Spruce Kings as they hemmed Langley in their own zone with Eric Butte missing a stick. Hunter Luhmann rang the puck off post twice, and finally it was Parker Colley knocking the puck in to put Prince George ahead 4-3.

The Rivermen would head to their fifth power play of the game shortly after with a glorious chance to even the score. Prince George would be the ones turning on the red light, as Brett Mennear scored his second short handed tally of the season. An errant pass was picked off inside the blue line, and Mennear walked in cooly before beating Didur for the insurance marker. One minute after that goal, Grant stone walled a Langley attacker on a backdoor feed.

Langley would pull their goalie late, and drew a penalty to boot, but were unable to beat Grant. The two teams will faceoff again Friday night in the second night of the double header. With a win, Prince George can move eight points clear of Langley for third in the Mainland Division.

MAking 33 saves for the win, Tavin Grant was named the third star of the night. Parker Colley with two goals (including the game winner) and one assist was the first star while Satchel Clendenin with a two point night for Langley was the second star. Jarod Hovde scored one goal, and earned the nod as the FortisBC Energy Player of the Game.

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