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Spruce Kings face a tough test
The Prince George Spruce Kings may have spent time this week dwelling over their latest hockey game.
They outplayed the Chilliwack Chiefs in a 2-1 overtime defeat on Saturday evening at the Coliseum. It wasn’t an easy loss to take for a squad one win short of .500 and coming off a convincing 7-1 home-ice triumph over the same team the night before.
Hopefully they didn’t worry about it for too long. The schedule doesn’t stop after losses and the Spruce Kings had another game to prepare for.
Tonight’s contest against the Penticton Vees (7 p.m. at the Coliseum) is a game they need to be ready for. Otherwise, it could get out of hand in a hurry.
The Vees are B.C. Hockey League perennial powerhouses, only 16 months removed from a Royal Ban Cup national junior A title. To nobody’s surprise, they’ve set the bar early this season, carrying an undefeated 4-0 record into this evening’s battle.
If the numbers are any indication, Penticton hasn’t been squeaking out wins either. They’ve outscored the opposition 17-4.
But the season is young.
The Spruce Kings have endured a frustrating start. They have a record of one win, two losses, zero ties and an overtime defeat (1-2-0-1). It’s not terrible, but a couple of the losses were so close they believe they could just as easily have three wins. But as coaches and players will tell you, it’s a fine line between winning and losing in sports.
In addition to Saturday’s heartbreaking loss, the Spruce Kings had a two-goal third-period lead slip away from them in their regular season opener. At the Bauer Showcase in Chilliwack on Sept. 7, the Cowichan Valley Capitals rebounded from a 3-1 deficit to edge the Spruce Kings 4-3. In the losses to Chilliwack and Cowichan Valley, the Spruce Kings outshot the opposition by a wide margin.
The Spruce Kings’ other result was a 3-1 defeat to the Nanaimo Clippers on Sept. 8.
In their latest game, Bryant Christian scored the lone goal for the Spruce Kings. Kiefer McNaughton recorded the overtime winner, with Carter Cochrane also scoring for the Chiefs. Lyndon Stanwood earned the victory between the pipes with 42 saves while Alex Murray, who turned aside 22 shots, picked up the loss for the Spruce Kings.
The Spruce Kings will be back at the Coliseum on Saturday evening, wrapping up a four-game homestand against the Trail Smoke Eaters.