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Spruce Kings drop Game 1 to the Wild

They were 0-7 against the Wenatchee Wild during the regular season, so the Spruce Kings had a daunting task at hand.

Wenatchee had a league best record of 45-9-4-0, led the league in goals with 294, and were second best defensively with 135 being scored against them. The Spruce Kigs held on in the first period, and played well in the second but a two minute lapse allowed the Wild to open the scoring.

Wenatchee went to the first two power plays of the games, but the Spruce Kings PK was able to shut the door. Charlie Combs had the best chance of the frame, and his shot got past Tavin Grant, but Tyler Anderson came to clear it off the goal line. Prince George’s best scoring opportunity came on their lone power play as Bryan Allbee was setup by Tanner Campbell, but his one-timer was denied by Anthony Yamnitsky. It was the first time this season Wenatchee didn’t score against the Spruce Kings in the first period.

Ben Poisson scored his first BCHL goal against the Wild in the Town Toyota Centre last season as an AP, and scored his first this year as well against Wenatchee. He nearly opened the scoring in the second, as a puck took a funny hop behind the goal, and bounced out front to him alone in the slot. The shot was sailed side though, and the score remained 0-0.

The Wild would eventually break though, as Dakota Raabe scored to open the series. After the Spruce Kings were unable to separate him from the puck, he curled in from the right faceoff circle, and sent a shot into the top left corner at 6:51. The lead was doubled 1:28 later as Jasper Weatherby was able to wrap the puck around from behind the goal, and slide the puck between the legs of Grant.

The third period looked to be off to magnificent start as Chong Hyun Lee in his first game back since February 2nd looked to have potted in a loose puck, but the refs called it back saying Yamnitsky had possession. Prince George continued buzzing, and wound up drawing a penalty to give them their second power play of the night. A great effort below the goal line by Tanner Campbell wound to Chong Hyun Lee putting the puck to the side of net for Ben Brar who squeezed the shot in to cut the lead to 2-1. The Spruce Kings got into penalty trouble late in the game though, and the Wild would capitalize twice. Both were finished by Matthew Baker, and setup by Brendan Harris. Wenatchee would hold on for the 4-1 lead, and the Spruce Kings drew another late power play, but with two minutes left it was too late.

Saturday marked the first game the Lee brother’s had played together in the same game. Chong Min Lee has been called up this season after the Port Moody Panthers were eliminated in the Pacific Junior Hockey League, and joined the lineup with his brother was had been away playing for Team Korea in the previous eight games Chong Min Lee had played.

Game 2 goes Sunday night in the Town Toyota Center once again. Puckdrop is at 5:05 p.m., with the pre-game show starting at 4:55 p.m. You can listen for free on Mixlr, or watch on HockeyTV.

– Prince George Spruce Kings

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