Saturday, January 11, 2014

Spruce Kings 4 Eagles 3 (OT)

Justin Rai's hat-trick goal 1:16 into overtime pushed the Prince George Spruce Kings past the Eagles 4-3 Saturday at the Prince George Coliseum.

Rai surely thought he'd found a winner late in period three to put the hosts ahead, but a late Surrey rally forced extra time as the Eagles salvaged a point against the Mainland division's second seed.

Rai opened the scoring just past the eight-minute mark, but like Friday night the Eagles found a way to respond before the end of the frame. Affiliate callup Quinn Lenihan converted a pass from behind the net to send the two teams to the intermission tied at a goal apiece.

The opening frame was not without its fireworks, accented by a spirited bout between Anthony Conti and Prince George forward Sean Landrey. The Spruce King earned the takedown, Conti, with an assist on the evening was named third star.

Surrey found a 2-1 lead early in period two, when on a power-play, Kale Bennett's point shot beat Spruce Kings netminder Alex Murray from the left side.

The score remained static until the 8:07 mark of the third, when Marco Ballarin jammed home a rebound to tie the game 2-2. Prince George could well have taken the lead minutes later on a point-blank chance for leading scorer Chad Staley, but he was foiled after Eagles netminder Bo Didur made a terrific glove save.

Rai scored his second goal of the game on a nifty individual move with 1:31 remaining in the third, but the Eagles pressed on with the extra attacker, and found an equalizer when Danton Heinen put home a loose puck from just outside the crease for his team-leading 18th goal and 42nd point.

Murray made three early stops in the 4-on-4 overtime period, before Rai fired home a winner for Prince George to give them their second victory over Surrey in as many nights.

Up Next: The Eagles wrap up their current stretch of four games away from South Surrey Arena Wednesday night with an away fixture in Coquitlam.

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