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GAME PREVIEW: Warriors Head North To Battle Spruce Kings

PHOTO: Julie Pringle/Snap Photography

The West Kelowna Warriors make the trek up north today as they take on the Prince George Spruce Kings at Rolling Mix Concrete Arena on Saturday night.

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Warriors vs. Spruce Kings 2017/18 Schedule:

Sunday, November 12th @ Royal LePage Place (4-3 Warriors) (BOXSCORE)

Saturday, November 18th @ Rolling Mix Concrete Arena (7:00 PM)

The Warriors and Spruce Kings finish off their season series in an impressive six day stretch as these two teams last saw each other on Sunday afternoon with the Warriors picking up a 4-3 victory in West Kelowna. Lucas Cullen, Chase Stevenson, Michael Lombardi and Jared Marino all scored in the win with Marino’s 3rd period marker being the difference as the game winning goal. Cody Porter turned aside 34 of the 37 shots he faced in his first win of the season.

West Kelowna comes into Saturday night’s contest after an 11-3 to the Penticton Vees on Friday night at Royal LePage Place. Willie Reim, Wyatt Head and RJ Murphy tallied goals in the defeat on home ice, the Warriors first loss at RLP in six games. Cody Porter started for the Warriors, making 21 saves on 28 shots and suffered his 2nd loss of the season before Cole Demers played the final period of the game, stopping 10 of 14 shots.

Warriors Leading Scorers:
Jared Marino (7-12-19)

Chase Dubois (9-8-17)

Parm Dhaliwal (5-12-17)

Michael Ryan (2-15-17)

Michael Lombardi (6-9-15)

Despite the lopsided score on Friday night, the Warriors did have a first BCHL goal on their roster as Wyatt Head collected the first goal of his BC Hockey League career. The Kelowna, BC native spent 8 games as an affiliate player with the Warriors last season before getting on full time this season with 25 games played before notching his first career BCHL tally. Head had tallied 7 assists this season before breaking through on Friday for his first goal.

Along with Head snapping a 33-game scoreless drought, Willie Reim and RJ Murphy also busted some slumps of their own when it came to goal scoring with their markers on Friday night. Murphy snapped a 10-game drought without a goal and now has points in two of his last three games while Reim thwarted off a five-game stretch that saw him goalless.

The Warriors will be looking to pick up a victory on the road for their first time in seven tries as their last road victory came on October 10th in a 3-2 win in Surrey against the Eagles. West Kelowna did break up that winless drought with a point in Vernon on Wednesday night but have not gotten a road victory in seven straight games.

The Prince George Spruce Kings enter Saturday’s matchup with a 12-9-3-2 record, good enough for 3rd place in the Mainland Division and are most recently coming off of a 3-2 double overtime victory against the Nanaimo Clippers on Friday night at the Rolling Mix Concrete Arena in PG. Ben Poisson and Blake Hayward scored in regulation to get the game to overtime before Poisson’s 2nd goal of the game gave the Spruce Kings the 3-2 win. Evan DeBrouwer stopped 24 of the 26 shots he faced in the game for his 9th win of the season.

Spruce Kings Leading Scorers:
Ethan de Jong (9-20-29)

Ben Brar (9-15-24)

Ben Poisson (11-11-22)

Kyle Johnson (11-10-21)

Dustin Manz (7-13-20)

In addition to the two goals on Friday night, sophomore forward Ben Poisson is having a nice stretch of games over the last little while with points in 6 of his last 7 contests. The Vancouver, BC native has 5 goals and 7 points over that 7-game span and is tied for the lead on the team in goals with captain Kyle Johnson at 11 while forward Ben Brar has also been streaking in the right direction as a 5-game point streak sees him with 3 goals and 5 points over that span.

The Spruce Kings have made the Rolling Mix Concrete Arena a house of horrors this season as Prince George is 8-1-1-1 when playing up north this season. The Spruce Kings have scored 40 goals and allowed just 27 goals against at home this season and have won their last five straight games on home ice, dating back to October 7th.

Special teams wise, the Spruce Kings come into the game having score a power play goal in three straight games while also surrendering at least one power play goal against in those three games as well. Prince George ranks 13th in the BCHL with a 16.7% power play while their penalty kill checks in a 9th in the league at 81.5%. The Warriors were able to score twice on the power play against the Spruce Kings just six days ago.

The Warriors and Spruce Kings drop the puck from Rolling Mix Concrete Arena at 7:00 PM with the pre-game show up at 6:45 PM on the Warriors Internet Network and HockeyTV.com with the Voice of the Warriors, Trevor Miller. The Warriors return back home to kick off Parents Weekend with a matchup against the Merritt Centennials for a 7:00 PM puck drop.

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