by Eddie Gregory I
Liam Watson-Brawn scored a shorthanded goal with 2:21 remaining in the third period that stood as the game winning goal in the Spruce Kings 4-2 win over the Express Friday.
In what is becoming an all too familiar theme, the Express had a solid outing against one of the top teams in the BCHL, but the result just didn’t go their way.
The Express played fast in the first period not allowing the Spruce Kings to clamp down on the Express at the other end. However despite the strong play, the reward wasn’t there again for the Express to get the lead for the first time in 7 games.
Ben Brar opened the scoring on the first Spruce Kings powerplay of the night. He buried the rebound after a shot from the slot from Nick Poisson was kicked out by Clay Stevenson.
Some of the best chances for either team in the second period came when they were shorthanded. Prince George had multiple two on one opportunities with Lucas Vanroboys in the box, but Clay Stevenson shut the door each time.
At the other end Logan Neaton got his left pad down to prevent Jared Power to score on a shorthanded breakaway with Dallas Farrell in the box. Power would get his revenge however off the ensuing face-off just two seconds later swiping a puck past Logan Neaton to tie the game at 1.
When you have two teams going head to head late in the season knowing there’s a good chance they will face-off against one another in the playoffs, there’s bound to be some animosity displayed on both sides. The Express showed some jam getting in the grill of a number of Spruce Kings players during a testy second period.
Entering the third period of a 1-1 game, one would hope that the players would be allowed to decide such a competitive game.
That however was not the case. Just past the 5 minute mark of the third period Cooper Connell was whistled for a holding call on what appeared to be a good hard play to come back for the puck at the Prince George blueline.
Nick Poisson scored on that powerplay just 5 seconds later for a 2-1 Spruce Kings lead.
By the time Lucas Vanroboys was whistled for high sticking midway through the period, there was plenty of frustration on both sides with the penalties that were being handed out during the course of the game.
Pito Walton scored a wrist shot on the powerplay to pull the Express even at 2.
With 2:30 left to play in the third period Chong Min Lee was whistled for tripping setting up the most important powerplay for either side on the night.
Right from the draw that was won by the Express, Spruce Kings defenceman Liam Watson-Brawn jumped on the loose puck and rushed the puck into the Express zone and from his off wing snapped a shot past the glove of Clay Stevenson for the third Prince George lead of the night.
Dustin Manz sealed the game in the final minute for Prince George with an empty net goal.
For the Express it was a season high 7th straight loss and 9th loss in the last 10 games.
They will host the Wenatchee Wild on Sunday afternoon.