Friday, December 30, 2011

Spruce Kings 5 Smoke Eaters 2

Prince George's top guns combined for three goals as the Spruce Kings upended the Smokies 5-2 at the Coliseum Friday.

Jujhar Khaira led the way with 3 points (1-2), while fellow forwards Michael Colantone and BCHL scoring leader Paul DeJersey also tallied as Prince George handed Trail its 8th straight loss.

Goaltender Lyndon Stanwood was named the game's first star, making 43 saves as Trail was outshot by a wide margin, 48-17.

Connor Tiechko and Brent Baltus ended a seven-period goal-less drought with early third-period tallies for Trail to cut the game to 3-2, but the home side added two late insurance markers to seal their third victory in as many tries against Trail.

Adam Fares made his long anticipated return to the Smokies lineup Friday, though forwards Luke Bertolucci and Clayton Chessa were both out of action.

Trail's current skid leaves them without a single point to show for the month of December, but an extended period at home could (hopefully) prove to be just the tonic this team needs.

For Prince George, the victory means they remain two points up on Vernon for the final playoff spot in the Interior Conference, as the chase for the BCHL post-season heats up in both divisions.

Tip o' the Hat: to Spruce Kings "Mr. Everything" Ron Gallo, who fired up a twitter-storm Friday to keep me (and hopefully some of you) updated on the goings-on in Prince George. I had every intention of making the trip to the Coliseum as part of my holiday time, but circumstance prevented that from happening. Thanks Ron!

Up Next: The Smokies begin a five-game homestand Wednesday against Salmon Arm. I took in the Silverbacks' 6-4 loss in Vernon Friday (a game SA led 3-0 twelve minutes into the first period). It was a fast-paced affair that really swung Vernon's way after an opening twenty minutes that saw the Silverbacks come out flying. Former BV Nitehawk Taylor Love picked up a kneeing penalty in his Salmon Arm debut that saw Vipers forward Ben Gamache leave the game in the second period.

KIJHL Tonight: Tyler Jones scored twice, including the overtime winner as Castlegar swept a two-game home-and-home set from Beaver Valley with a 4-3 win at Fruitvale. Kudos to the 600+ fans who packed the BV Arena tonight, a marked improvement from some very unfortunate attendance trends I've noticed in our local rinks this season. New Rebels defenseman (and Smokies AP) Riley Henderson didn't figure in the scoring in his Castlegar debut: he was acquired Thursday from Golden for future considerations and of course spent last year and the first three months of 2011-12 with the Nelson Leafs. Henderson appears to be the top-4 d-man the Rebels (and others) have been seeking in advance of the Jan. 10 deadline.

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