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Three In A Row: Spruce Kings Visit

ChfVSPrincegeorge

Chilliwack Chiefs (7-25-1-2, 5th in Mainland Division) VS Prince George Spruce Kings (20-11-2-2, 2nd in Mainland Division) (Friday, December 20th,  Prospera Centre –  6:30 pregame/7pm faceoff on 89.5 The Drive)

Two games to go before Christmas, starting tonight at home against the same Prince George club that took two earlier this week. The Spruce Kings have won four of the five in the season series this year, and won the only other matchup at Prospera Centre – 2-1 back in September.

Tanner Cochrane is back in the fold with the Chiefs, and skated on a line with Austin Plevy and Mathieu Tibbet. Cochrane played a few games in the KIJHL before returning. His younger brother Carter should be back tonight as well, but the Chiefs are still shorthanded on the blueline without Eric Roberts and Cody Bardock.

Chilliwack’s dropped ten straight, while the Spruce Kings are in the midst of a trip that saw them lose to Surrey 5-3 on Thursday night.

Credit to the Chiefs for manning up on Monday night against Prince George. This team was under-manned, and under the weather. They gave the Spruce Kings a game before running out of gas and losing 8-5.

Chilliwack led early in that game. Nice to see them play with a little confidence early on thanks to goals two minutes apart from Kyle Westeringh and Blake Gober. Gober’s fifth came on a powerplay, a good redirect in front of the net.

Prince George answered right back on a goal by Justin Rai, who was on fire over the course of the two nights. He was one of two Spruce Kings to finish with four points on the night (along with Bryant Christian)

Mathieu Tibbet answering back for the Chiefs to make it 3-1 just nine seconds later. Junior hockey, man.

Shorhanded goals allowed has been an issue, and a frustrating one for the Chiefs over the last month, and during the streak. Christian’s fine tip in off a Lebrun centering pass cut it to 3-2, and the Kings would take the lead after one period, leading to Spencer Tremblay’s exit. I’m not sure you could fault him for any of the four, but it was Josh Halpenny’s turn.

-Halpenny played well in the second. He settled in quickly, even making a few highlight reel saves. Tough spot to come in, especially given the Chiefs played with just five defensemen, including two AP’s – Josh Cronin, and Brock Padgham – who handled their business well, mind you – getting back to the whole ‘undermanned’ thing.

There were a couple fights – Epp and Kyle Westeringh threw down, and Cooper Rush answered the bell in the first period after throwing a big hit on Brent Lashuk. The first period had literally everything, the second was a little quiet, and the third was a bit of a wash, at least when the Spruce Kings scored three unanswered to put the game away after Kiefer McNaughton cut the deficit to 5-4.

Chilliwack will have to be weary of the Chad Staley’s, Jake Lebrun’s, Bryant Christian’s, and Justin Rai’s of the world, but (Here it comes!) if they play like they did Monday for longer stretches, they’ll  get this ten game slide licked, and take something with them into tomorrow night against Trail.

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