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GAME PREVIEW: Warriors Host Spruce Kings In Search Of 6th Straight Home Win

PHOTO: Julie Pringle/Snap Photography

The West Kelowna Warriors put a five-game home winning streak on the line as they take on the Mainland Division’s Prince George Spruce Kings on Sunday afternoon at Royal LePage Place.

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Warriors vs.  Spruce Kings 2017/18 Schedule:

Sunday, November 12th @ Royal LePage Place (2:30 PM)

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

The Warriors and Spruce Kings split their two-game season series last year with Prince George winning in West Kelowna in early November by a 6-1 score while in late February, the Warriors returned the favour with a 4-0 shutout victory up north in Prince George. The Warriors swept the season series against the Spruce Kings two years ago and are 3-1 against Prince George in their last four meetings.

The Warriors come into Sunday afternoon after their worst loss of the season, a 9-2 defeat to the Wenatchee Wild at the Town Toyota Center in Wenatchee on Friday night. Chase Dubois and Jake Harrison scored in the 2nd period to get the game to within one but the Wild ran away with the game after that for the win. Cole Demers started the game, allowing 3 goals on 16 shots before being relieved by Cody Porter, who turned aside 21 of the 27 shots he faced.

Warriors Leading Scorers:

Jared Marino (6-11-17)
Chase Dubois (9-6-15)

Parm Dhaliwal (5-10-15)

Michael Ryan (1-14-15)

Stephen Kleysen (5-9-14)

Despite the tough result on Friday night, a pair of Warriors are starting to find their offensive grooves. Chase Dubois enters Sunday afternoon against his hometown team with a four-game point streak and three goals in his last two games, now leading the team with nine goals on the season. The other Warrior that’s gotten going is Michael Lombardi as the Barrington, Rhode Island native has scored twice and added four assists for six points over a four-game point streak of his own.

Cody Porter will make his first start for the Warriors since March 11th, 2014 as the 20-year-old netminder was added to the Warriors roster on Thursday, getting into a relief appearance on Friday night. The North Vancouver, BC native will get his first start with West Kelowna since that playoff game three seasons ago after playing in the Western Hockey League with the Vancouver Giants and Calgary Hitmen, as well as starting this season with the St. John’s Sea Dogs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL).

The Warriors will look for their 10th victory on home ice this season and to extend a season-long win streak at Royal LePage Place to 6 games on Sunday afternoon. West Kelowna enters the game with a 9-2-0-0 record while on home ice this season and during five consecutive wins at RLP, the Warriors have outscored their opponents by a 19-11 margin over that five-game span.

The Prince George Spruce Kings enter Sunday’s matinee with a 11-8-3-2 record and are 1-1 on their current three-game Interior Division road trip. After a big 3-1 win on Friday night in Trail against the Smoke Eaters, the Spruce Kings fell by a 3-2 score down south in Wenatchee to the Wild on Saturday. Ben Poisson and Patrick Cozzi scored in the defeat for the Spruce Kings while Evan DeBrouwer got the start in goal, turning aside 24 of the 27 shots he faced in his 7th loss of the season.

Spruce Kings Leading Scorers:

Ethan de Jong (9-18-27)

Ben Brar (8-14-22)

Ben Poisson (9-10-19)

Kyle Johnson (9-9-18)

Dustin Manz (7-11-18)

The Spruce Kings have only six players that have returned from their 2016/17 squad as most of the roster, including the coaching staff, is brand new. Captain Kyle Johnson is one of the six returnees along with forwards Ben Poisson, Ethan de Jong, Jarod Hovde, Ben Brar and defenseman Liam Watson-Brawn. The Spruce Kings did go out and make some trades in the offseason to acquire some experience in the likes of forward Nolan Welsh from the Victoria Grizzlies and goaltender Evan DeBrouwer from the Nanaimo Clippers along with forward Blake Hayward, who was acquired from the Coquitlam Express on Wednesday.

Prince George is very capable of scoring as they sit tied for 6th in the BCHL in goals for with 75 with their returnees leading the way offensively. Freshly committed to Quinnipiac University, Ethan de Jong has been on fire for PG with his 27 points sitting 10th in the BCHL. The North Vancouver, BC native is currently riding a five-game point streak with two goals and six points in that span.

The Spruce Kings, with DeBrouwer getting both starts in Trail and Wenatchee, will likely start Bradley Cooper in between the pipes for Sunday’s matinee to finish the road trip. The West Vancouver, BC native is 3-3 on the season with a 3.11 GAA and a .894 SV% and is winless in his last three starts but has one very good game under his belt and it came against the Warriors. Cooper turned aside 33 of the 35 shots he faced an as AP for the Langley Rivermen last season in a 4-2 win over West Kelowna which was his first in the BCHL.

The Warriors and Spruce Kings drop the puck at 2:30 PM from Royal LePage Place with a Skate with the Warriors planned for immediately after puck drop! Make sure to bring your skates and come on down and skate with your favourite Warrior players! Tickets are available for purchase at the Warriors office, by calling (250) 769-7051 or at the door ahead of puck drop.

The Warriors are holding a live auction for their Remembrance Day jerseys that were wore in honour of the veterans on Wednesday, November 8th against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks. Visit www.westkelownawarriors.ca/auction for more information and to learn how to bid on your favourite Warriors players jersey! The bidding comes to a close on Tuesday, November 14th at 3:00 PM.

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