Penticton Vees (6-1-0-0, 1st Interior) vs. Prince George Spruce Kings (1-5-0-1, 5th Mainland)
7pm, Prince George Coliseum (EZ Rock AM 800, Fasthockey Pay-Per-View)
A night after an emphatic 6-1 win at the SOEC, the Penticton Vees hit the road Saturday, as they trek north to Cariboo country, as they face the Prince George Spruce Kings at the Prince George Coliseum. This is the Vees first and only regular season trip to PG, before the Spruce Kings make their way to Penticton on October 16th.
Friday the Vees power-play flexed it muscle against Merritt, as they scored three goals on six power-play opportunities. The penalty-kill was no slouch, as the PK unit killed-off seven of eight Merritt power-plays.
Captain Tyson Jost paced the attack with a five-point night, scoring once and finishing with four helpers for first star honours. Chris Gerrie and Scott Conway each had three points in the win and Anthony Brodeur stopped 20 shots for his fifth win in as many starts.
The Spruce Kings are coming off a 5-2 loss at home to Cowichan Valley Friday. The Caps sunk PG with a three-goal third period, as the Kings have just one win in their first six games.
Like Merritt, Prince George has made a change behind the bench in the off-season, as Chad Van Diemen is the new Head Coach, taking over for Dave Dupas who stepped down. Van Diemen came over from the Powell River Kings, where he was an Associate Coach under Kent Lewis.
Eight players are back from last year’s squad, four defensemen and four forwards, including Prince George native Jake LeBrun. The hometown kid is in his fourth BCHL season and was named the Captain going into the 2015-16 season. He should be and needs to be a catalyst to their offense going forward. It was two years ago he rattled off a hat-trick against the Vees in PG.
Scoring has been the biggest issue to the Spruce Kings slow start, as they’ve scored a league-low 11 goals in seven games. The next lowest scoring team is Victoria who has 14 goals in seven games. Corey Hoffman is the Spruce Kings leading scorer with two goals and four points.
The Vees will ice the same line-up as Friday with one change coming in goal. Zach Driscoll will make his Vees debut tonight between the pipes. The 18-year-old was acquired earlier this week from the Omaha Lancers of the USHL. Driscoll is committed to St. Cloud State University and was a standout in High School hockey in his hometown of Apple Valley, Minnesota.