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Short-staffed Spruce Kings hammered by Rivermen

Adam Burnett checks Ryan Barrow in front of the Spruce Kings net, Photo by: Damon James Photography

Playing their sixth game in nine days, the Langley Rivermen showed no signs of being tired as they finished their season with a 7-0 win over the Prince George Spruce Kings. The most potent line was that of Nic Ponak, Max Kaufman, and Angus Crookshank who combined for four goals and three assists. Braeden Fleming made his second start of the week against Prince George, and after a 35 save shutout on Monday, stopped 20 on Saturday for his second goose egg of the year.

Playing the game with nine forwards was tricky for the Spruce Kings, and they rolled the lines in the first period, but couldn’t beat Braeden Fleming who had shut them out Monday just six days before on 35 shots. Former Spruce King Nic Ponak would open the scoring as he was left alone in the slot. John Schuldt drove the puck down from the left wing, and the puck was sent behind the goal for Bailee Wright. A quick one time touch out to Ponak, and the puck was in the back of the net at 16:41 of the first period. The best chance earlier came for the Rivermen as Bryan Allbee turned the puck over, and it was centred out, but Sam De Melo was there to block the shot. Langley nearly made it 2-0 with 20 seconds to go, as a clearing pass was picked off by Drew Lennon, and fired in, but Aris Anagnostopoulos slid to his right and knocked it away.

In the second the Rivermen would begin to run away with the game. Cooper Leitch and Kaufman each scored their firsts of the night, while Ponak collected his second of the night at 15:02 of the period. With nine forwards, the Prince George forwards started to show some wear and tear, and the third didn’t treat them any better.

49 seconds in, Kaufman scored his second of the game making it 5-0 and breaking any hope of a Prince George comeback. Andrew Dumaresque would score over a minute later to make it 6-0, and the final goal of the game belonged to Cameron Ginnetti as he drove the puck all the way from his own blue line, and scored from the right corner with a shot along the goal line that squeezed past Anagnostopoulous.

After smothering the Coquitlam the night before in shots, Langley turned the trick on PG not allowing double digits in any of the three periods. The Spruce Kings were outshot 27-20 in the game. Both teams were 0 for 2 on the power play, with both penalty kills doing a superb job.

One bright spot for the Spruce Kings was the third period play in particular by Sam De Melo. The defenseman hasn’t had the most ice time this season, and is primarily used on the penalty kill but earned quite a few even strength minutes in the final period. He looked confident skating the puck out of his zone, made heads up plays at the blue line in the Langley end, and jumped into the play on a number of occasions.

The Spruce Kings will wrap up their season Sunday night as they take on the Chilliwack Chiefs with a 5 p.m. puck drop in the Prospera Centre. Prince George won the last game in Chilliwack 3-2 in overtime.

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