The West Kelowna Warriors were late arriving in Prince George, but it was the Spruce Kings a step behind during the game.
Former Spruce Kings Cavin Tilsley scored five minutes into the first period, and that goal stood as the game winner on Thursday night in the Spruce Kings final home game of the regular season.
Due to poor weather conditions, the Warriors didn’t arrive to the Rolling Mix Concrete Arena until 6:30. With the delay, the game was pushed back 30 minutes until 7:30.
An early two-on-one broke out with Juanre Naude bursting down the left side. Centring the puck for Tilsley, the forward got the puck to his forehand before beating Aris Anagnostopoulos for the 1-0 lead at the 5:00 mark.
In the second period, the Spruce Kings had four power plays, and on a late one, had the West Kelowna Warriors bite back. Exiting from his own end, Tyler Anderson attempted a drop pass for Brett Mennear, but it was picked off by Jon Russell. Walking down alone, the Harvard commit tucked the puck past Anagnostopoulos to double the lead at 2-0, 17:09 into the frame.
The third period was no better for Prince George as they had another two power plays halfway through the frame. They were unable to dig into the 2-0 lead though, and the Warriors made them pay for it as Jon Russell scored his second of the night, and fourth in as many games. A Jordan Todd shot was kicked out, and on the rebound Russell was there to slide the puck in. The goal was discussed for a moment as to whether the play had been called down already, but the officiating crew deemed it a good call putting West Kelowna ahead 3-0 at 14:23.
Playing for the Prince George in the previous three seasons, Braiden Epp capped the scoring at 17:54 on the power play. In the crease, Epp was able to dig at a loose puck, and in celebration lifted the Warriors crest on his jersey.
Making his seventh appearance for West Kelowna, Gabriel Morency made 33 saves for his first BCHL shutout.
Prince George now heads south as they play a pair of games in Surrey this weekend. Saturday it will be at 7 p.m., and Sunday will be in the afternoon at 4 p.m.
-Prince George Spruce Kings