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McGregor-Bennett scores overtime winner to lift Spruce Kings over Clippers

Vicki Brown photo

NANAIMO – The Prince George Spruce Kings saw a 2-0 lead deteriorate in the final period of regulation but were able to seal away the victory in overtime as they defeated the Nanaimo Clippers 3-2 on Friday night inside the Frank Crane Arena.

The victory saw the Clippers winning streak end at six games as Prince George improves to 15-10-1-1 after Kilian McGregor-Bennett scored the game-winner 1:27 into overtime.

Jordan Fairlie came out as the winning goaltender for the night, turning away 26 of the 28 shots he faced from the Clippers. Meanwhile, Aidan Campbell was caught out of position for the eventual game-winning goal in overtime as he finished the night stopping 19 of 22 shots from the PG squad.

In the opening period, Prince George got out in front inside the front half of the opening frame. Scott Cousins worked the puck over the blueline before cutting over to the slot and finding a lane to the net. An initial shot from the PG product rebounded off of Campbell and to the stick of Jack Kurrle, who saw the puck slide across the goal line for the opening goal.

The score marked Kurrle’s first as a member of the Spruce Kings since being acquired from the Trail Smoke Eaters towards the end of November. Kurrle now has four goals through 25 games this season.

After carrying a 1-0 lead into the first intermission, the Spruce Kings added to their lead in the second period.

Following a cross-checking penalty to Clippers’ Charles Tardif, Luca Primerano managed to have a shot from the top of the left-wing circle bounce its way through traffic and tuck itself inside the right post to put Prince George ahead 2-0.

Primerano now has six goals on the season. Kai Greaves and Austin Fraser assisted on the play.

A pair of penalties by the Spruce Kings just past the midway mark of the period put Nanaimo on a 5-on-3 powerplay, however, the Spruce Kings were able to isolate the Clippers’ powerplay, a unit that ranked as the league’s second-best entering the game.

In the third period, Jake Hewitt got the Clippers on the board. At 2:45, the Fitchburg, Massachusetts product tallied his 12th of the season.

Over a minute later, Jeremie Payant knotted the score up at two, scoring his 11th of the season. Ethan Mistry and Mike Murtagh earned the helpers on the play at 4:04.

The game would see regulation playout with the score still tied at the end of 60 minutes, bringing on an overtime period.

Fairlie saw some early shots in the extra frame but kept the door closed in the extra frame, leading to the Spruce Kings’ first offensive opportunity back the other way. An initial shot from Austin Fraser rebounded its way back to his stick where he then found Kilian McGregor-Bennett open in the slot, firing the shot into the open net for the game-winning goal.

Prince George secured their 15th win of the season, improving their record to 15-10-1-1 and now sit in the fourth spot of the Interior Division. The Clippers were handed their first overtime loss of the season, however, remain at the top of the Coastal Division standings with a record of 22-4-1-0.

The Spruce Kings will wrap up their schedule ahead of the holiday break on Saturday when they travel to Chilliwack to take on the Chiefs. Chilliwack sits with a record of 12-14-0-1, ranking fifth in the Coastal Division.

Puck drop is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. at the Chilliwack Coliseum.

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