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Express Shred Spruce Kings – Start Season 4-1

by Eddie Gregory

If the Prince George Spruce Kings were a deciduous tree, they would have lost all their leaves all at once on this September Sunday afternoon in Coquitlam as the Express completely sucked the life out of them all afternoon long in a 5-1 win. Click here for boxscore

They literally gave the Spruce Kings nothing for nearly the first half of the game while pulling away over the course of 60 minutes.

Shift after shift in the first period saw the Express spend the vast majority of the time controlling the puck in the Prince George end. And when they lost the puck, the Express tracked back hard to get it back before the Spruce Kings could generate an attack.

The Express strong play saw them blank the Spruce Kings 14-0 in the first period in shots but the game remained scoreless. Despite the Express dominance, it was Prince George who had the best scoring chance of the period. Thomas Richter was hauled down cutting to the net and awarded a penalty shot. He would walk in and snap a shot off the post stick side on Clay Stevenson.

The 1st intermission did nothing to deter the Express dominance of play in the second period. Finally they broke through on the first BCHL goal from James Bohn when he let a wrist shot go from the left point that went in off the stick of Spruce Kings goaltender Jack McGovern.

It finally took until the 6:45 mark of the 2nd period for Prince George to be credited with a shot on goal on the powerplay from a one timer off the stick of Nick Poisson. I’d ask you to find me another high level hockey game where one team was held without a shot for the first 27 minutes of the game, but I really do value my time.

The Poisson shot came with Brad Ong in the penalty box. When he came out he rushed to the loose puck and cut to the net and jammed home his 3rd of the season for a 2-0 Express lead.

Once shaking off the goose egg on the shot clock the Spruce Kings tested Clay Stevenson a few more times. One of his best saves was on a breakaway by Preston Brodziak where Stevenson needed a second effort to swat a puck that was behind him over top of the net.

Danny Pearson – Photo courtesy of Damon James

Danny Pearson extended the Express lead to 3-0 converting a cross ice pass at the edge of the crease for a powerplay goal assisted by Greg Lapointe and Adam Trotman.

For most of the game early on it lacked much of a physical presence and emotion. But that changed late in the 2nd period when captain Drew Cooper and Carter Cochrane dropped the gloves after battling in the corner in the Express zone. Cooper was all over the place delivering shots over the top and upper cuts all the while mixing in rights and lefts.

Joe Borthwick was whistled for a 5 minute major and a game misconduct for kneeing in the 3rd period after making contact with Preston Brodziak.

Even while killing a major penalty things were going the Express way. Tyler Schleppe playing against his former team for the first time set up Danny Pearson on a 2 on nothing rush for his second of the game and a 4-0 Express lead.

Addison Macey – Photo courtesy of Damon James

There was very little that didn’t go the Express way Sunday. One little gaffe behind the net midway through the third period allowed Preston Brodziak to beat Clay Stevenson on a wrap around to break the shutout bid.

Addison Macey dressed for his first game of the season. And he far and away delivered the best hit of the night crushing a Spruce Kings winner right at the Express blueline.

Cooper Connell capped off the win taking a pass from Greg Lapointe and beating McGovern on the backhand for Connell’s first of the season.

The Express finished the game outshooting the Spruce Kings 35-13 to improve to 4-1 for the first time since 2012. They will head into next week sitting atop of the Mainland division standings on their own.

Merritt is in town on Wednesday night as the 5 game home stand continues.