PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. – The West Kelowna Warriors had their offense stymied in a 3-1 loss to the Prince George Spruce Kings on Friday night at Kopar Memorial Arena.
West Kelowna started the game with plenty of jump and spent most of the period inside of the offensive zone, outshooting Prince George by a 12-6 margin in the 1st period and were rewarded for that with a late period goal coming courtesy of Jackson Kyrkostas, who earned his 7th goal of the season and extended his point streak to five games with the goal.
Kyrkostas took the puck from Isaiah Norlin behind the Warriors goal and raced up the right side of the ice, driving into the offensive zone before snapping a shot past the blocker side of Spruce Kings goaltender Marcus Ouellet to earn the goal with 43 seconds remaining in the period to give the Warriors a 1-0 lead into the intermission.
Despite the strong start, it was the Spruce Kings that brought the pressure in the 2nd frame with a 13-6 edge in shots of their own in the middle frame and got on the scoresheet late in the frame as well with a power play marker that levelled the game at 1-1 and was the first of two goals in 13 seconds.
Kai Greaves put a puck to the front of the net from the left point that found its way through traffic in front of the net to the goal with Trent Ballentyne forcing the puck past the blocker side of Warriors netminder Justin Katz to tie the game with a power play goal and make the score 1-1.
13 seconds after that, off of a face-off, the Spruce Kings took their first lead of the night with Alexis Cournoyer earning the goal to get Prince George ahead by a marker. Cournoyer took the puck in the left face-off circle off a face-off win and got a shot underneath of the glove of Katz as Prince George took the momentum their way and took a one-goal lead into the final regulation period.
The Warriors pressed in the 3rd period with chances and only surrendered two shots against in the final frame but the Spruce Kings jumped ahead by a pair of goals at the 2:12 mark with Linden Makow giving Prince George a two-goal advantage.
A bouncing puck worked its way to the right face-off circle where Jared Langdon pushed a pass to the left circle as Makow wound up a one-time shot that blasted by Katz on the blocker side that made it a 3-1 game.
West Kelowna pushed hard to get a marker and get within a goal but Ouellet and the Spruce Kings held strong with 11 saves in the final period to help Prince George to the 3-1 win.
Justin Katz turned aside 17 of the 20 shots thrown his way in his first loss of the season while Marcus Ouellet made 30 saves on 31 shots to collect his 2nd win of the season.
FINAL SCORE: 3-1 Spruce Kings
SHOTS ON GOAL: 31-20 Warriors
WARRIORS PP: 0/4
WARRIORS PK: 4/5
1) Trent Ballentyne (1-0-1)
2) Alexis Courneyor (1-1-2)
3) Marcus Ouellet (30 saves on 31 shots)
Fortis Energy Player of the Game: Jared Langdon (0-2-2)
The Warriors (9-5-2-0) will finish a two-game weekend set against the Spruce Kings (4-7-3-0) on Saturday night. Puck drop is slated for 6:00 PM at the Kopar Memorial Arena with the game being streamed live on FloHockey as well as broadcasted on mixlr.com/bchlwarriors.