Jeremiah Luedtke put home the game-winner in the dying moments of the third period to lift Prince George to a 2-1 victory over Trail Tuesday in Chase.
The Spruce Kings forward hopped on a loose puck in the Smoke Eaters slot to break a 1-1 tie at the 18:38 mark of period three.
Trail opened the scoring on a sharp wrister from Brent Baltus 5:47 into the first period; the 20 year-old took a pass from linemate Scott Davidson and rifled a shot blocker-side on Spruce Kings goaltender Liam McLeod.
Prince George tied the game on a 5-on-3 later in the opening frame. Forward Kody Disher converted a swift, cross-crease feed from Bryant Christian ten minutes after Baltus' goal.
Quality offensive chances were few and far between after Disher's equalizer, despite the Spruce Kings firing 21 shots at the Trail goal in the first period alone. The cozy Art Holding Arena made for plenty of close checking, plenty of board play, and plenty of power-plays as the two sides split 13 man-advantage opportunities.
Trail's Lyndon Stanwood started the game between the pipes, but was replaced midway through the 2nd period after stopping 26 of 27 shots. Backup Cody Boeckman parried aside 11 of the 12 Spruce King efforts he faced.
16 year-old McLeod went the distance for Prince George, making 23 saves including a reach-behind, desperation stop with his left arm on Smokies forward Bryce Knapp midway through the third period.
I liked the effort put out by Trail's Wayland Williams on the back end. The Michigan product seems to be settling into his new environment and made several key defensive plays, moving the puck well as well. Speaking of defensive plays, I'd be remiss not to mention the sliding block made by Garrett McMullen midway through the second period off a hard slapper from Trevor Esau, while local product Jake Lucchini collaborated well with Knapp, especially in the latter parts of the contest. Prince George defenseman Mitch Eden came as advertised and to me was Prince George's best player, logging a ton of minutes and quarterbacking each of the Spruce Kings' 8 power-plays.
Up Next: A return engagement against Prince George tomorrow in Chase. Faceoff again is at 7:00.
Trail: Stanwood, Boeckman, Bruyckere, Poulsen, McKinnon, Williams, Jones, Jenerou, Baltus, McCaughey, D. Holland, Flockhart, Davidson, Foyle, A. Holland, Lucchini, Knapp, Wheeldon, McMullen, Heinrich.
Prince George: McLeod, Schoech, London, Bendall, Esau, Eden, Cramer, Luedtke, Board, Staley, Fjellstrom, Keis, Butcher, Christian, Witala, LeBrun, Disher, Hards, O'Briain.
1. TRA Baltus (Davidson) 5:47
2. PGO Disher (Christian) 15:56 (pp)
Penalties: McCaughey TRA (interference) 8:45; Witala PGO (interference) 11:41; D. Holland TRA (holding) 14:26; Williams TRA (roughing) 15:12; Wheeldon TRA (checking from behind, game misconduct), Keis PGO (cross-checking) 17:32; London PGO (holding) 18:19.
Penalties: LeBrun PGO (goaltender interference) 1:53; D. Holland TRA (cross-checking) 5:43; Foyle TRA (boarding) 7:06.
3. PGO Luedtke (Butcher, Staley) 18:38
Penalties: Fjellstrom PGO (interference) 1:29; O'Briain PGO, McKinnon TRA, McCaughey TRA (roughing) 4:34; Jones TRA (roughing) 7:06; Bendall PGO (holding) 9:50; Heinrich TRA (boarding) 12:39.
Shots On Goal: Trail: 10-7-7-24; Prince George: 21-10-8-39.
Goal: Trail: Stanwood (27-26), Boeckman (9:52 second); Prince George: McLeod.
Power Play: Trail: 0/5; Prince George: 1/8.
Referee: Nick Swaine