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Herrington comes up with late game-winner as Spruce Kings down Smoke Eaters

Vicki Brown photo

TRAIL – John Herrington showcased why he was named a 2023 BCHL All-Star this week as he scored two goals Friday night, including the game-winner with just over a minute remaining in regulation, as the Prince George Spruce Kings defeated the Trail Smoke Eaters 4-3.

Jordan Fairlie stopped 27 shots in the winning effort to earn his 11th win of the season.

Prince George improves their record to 12-5-1-1 and now sits tied with the West Kelowna Warriors for 2nd in the BCHL’s Interior Division. The Smoke Eaters’ record now sits at 7-10-1-1, ranking them 7th in the division.

Trail opened the scoring in the first period. Forward Jack Kurrle scored his third of the season at 14:31. Evan Bushy and Connor Seeley both earned their second assists of the season on the play as the Smoke Eaters carried a 1-0 lead into the first intermission.

In the second period, things settled down for the Spruce Kings and they came out firing.

John Herrington knotted the score up after an offensive zone faceoff win by PG. Amran Bhabra put a shot on net from the point and Herrington redirected the puck in passed Keegan Maddocks. The goal came at 8:20 of the period.

Over six minutes later, the Spruce Kings leapt onto an odd-man rush after a turnover at centre ice. Austin Fraser entered the zone along the right wing and put a shot off the right pad of Maddocks, rebounding out to the stick of Kilian McGregor-Bennett. The Spruce Kings winger potted the rebound in past Maddocks to give Prince George the 2-1 lead.

At 18:17 of the second period, PG put traffic in front of the Trail net leading to their third goal of the night. Luca Primerano parked himself along the backside of the net and saw a sliding puck come his way across the crease. Luke Eurig and Ben LeFranc earned the helpers on the play as Prince George carried a 3-1 lead into the final period of regulation.

Trail responded in the third period.

Ridge Dawson found the edge along the left wing and stormed in towards Jordan Fairlie before putting a back-handed shot in past the Spruce Kings goalie to come within one on the scoreboard. The goal came at 4:56 of the period.

Exactly five minutes later, Quinn Disher tied the score up at 3-3. Adam Marshall and Jordan Hendry helped out in drawing the Smokies even.

With the game approaching the final minute of play, Herrington came up with his fourth game-winner of the season by tucking in a shot between Maddocks and the post for the go-ahead goal. Fraser and Linden Makow assisted on the play.

The Spruce Kings held on through the final minute to win their third consecutive game and will look to wrap up their road trip on Saturday in Penticton at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

The Vees remain undefeated at 19-0 after defeating the West Kelowna Warriors 11-2 on Friday.

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