It was a night of giving in Downtown Prince George as the Spruce Kings held their annual DROP THE GLOVES AND SOCK IT TO ‘EM night, the fans were awarded a 6-3 victory over the Cowichan Valley Capitals on Friday at Kopar Memorial Arena.
With the win, Prince George shakes loose of what was a four-game losing streak and rediscovers the win column, improving their record to 14-10-1-1. Meanwhile, the Capitals get handed their 17th loss of the season as they sit in the basement of the Coastal Division standings.
Caps’ goalie McCoy Bidewell was kept busy throughout the night. By night’s end, he stopped 36 of the 41 shots he faced from the Spruce Kings. Meanwhile, Jordan Fairlie was the victorious goalie as he saved 24 of 27 shots from Cowichan.
In the first period, the Spruce Kings found themselves down after the Capitals opened the scoring on the powerplay after Jack Stockfish was sent to the box after being called for slashing. 2:27 into the period, Luke Strickland added to his team-leading totals by scoring his 14th goal of the season. Kai Dunits and William Elias assisted on the play.
Prince George was able to respond a few minutes later. Defenceman Charlie Banquier gathered the puck at the top of the offensive zone before letting a shot rip through traffic and into the back of the net as the ice proceeded to get littered with plastic bags filled with donated winter clothing. The goal was Banquier’s fourth of the season. Stockfish earned the assist on the play.
Before the period was out, the Spruce Kings took the lead while they found a powerplay marker of their own. This time it was John Herrington coming up with the goal at 13:58. After Kilian McGregor-Bennett put a shot off the crossbar, Herrington stepped up and potted it as the puck rebounded out the opposite side. Herrington added to his team lead in goals with his 15th of the season.
With PG leading 2-1 after the first 20 minutes, it took just 20 seconds into the second period for the Spruce Kings to add some cushion. Amran Bhabra stepped up from inside the blue line and rifled a shot in past Bidewell for his first goal of the season, giving the Spruce Kings a 3-1 lead. Ty Gagno earned the helper on the play.
The scoring went back and forth through the middle frame as the Capitals then drew to within one at 6:29 of the period. Massimo Sarantos Lombardi scored his ninth of the season, unassisted, to make it a 3-2 score.
Just 20 seconds after that, Ty Gagno reclaimed the two-goal lead for Prince George. Jake Schneider sent Herrington into the offensive zone all alone, drawing Bidewell out of his crease. Herrington then sent the puck to the backstep of the net where Gagno tapped in the puck for his fourth goal of the season.
Logan Camp added another for the Capital before the period was out while on the powerplay. Elias and Strickland combined for the assists.
In the third period, Prince George pulled away.
At 5:44, Gagno added another to his night after being set up by Herrington and Ben LeFranc on the powerplay. That gave Prince George a two-goal cushion, eventually leading to the Capitals having to pull Bidewell in the final few minutes of the period. That would lead to Herrington putting a shot from inside his own zone dead-centre on the empty net and locking in the victory for the home side.
The Capitals finished the game with their powerplay operating at 50 per cent, going two of four with the man advantage. Meanwhile, the Spruce Kings scored twice on five trips to the powerplay.
Both Herrington and Gagno finished the game with four-point nights after each scoring twice and adding two assists as the Spruce Kings defeated the Capitals 6-3 in what marks the final home game of 2022.
Prince George will be on the road for the next two games ahead of the holiday break with a game on Vancouver Island next Friday, December 16, against the Nanaimo Clippers. That game will then be followed up with a game in Chilliwack on Saturday, December 17 against the Chiefs.
Friday’s game will be broadcasted on 99.3 Rewind Radio with puck drop coming at approximately 7:00 p.m.
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