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Preview: Vees host Spruce Kings looking to end slide

Penticton, BC: The Penticton Vees (22-9-2-2) may feel the sting of their last loss against the Wenatchee Wild due to a late tying goal being waved off for awhile, but Friday they have to turn their focus to the Prince George Spruce Kings (20-12-2-4), a team battling for first place in their division.

Ryan Sandelin appeared to score the 2-2 goal with 5:34 remaining in the third period Saturday, but the official positioned behind the net couldn’t see the loose puck in the crease and blew play down just moments before Sandelin scored.

Four minutes later Lucas Sowder hit the empty net to seal the 3-1 Wenatchee win. Following the goal, Owen Sillinger pushed Sowder to the ice causing nearly all the players on the ice to come together. Monday afternoon it was announced Sillinger had been suspended for two games.

The Spruce Kings meanwhile were home for a pair of games last weekend as they welcomed the Mainland Division-leading Langley Rivermen. After losing the first game 2-1 Friday night, Prince George rebounded Saturday with a 3-2, double-overtime win.

Following the split, the Spruce Kings find themselves in second place in the Mainland Division, two points behind Langley and four points ahead of the Surrey Eagles.

Prince George is led offensively by Ethan De Jong who has 38 points in 32 games. He was a teammate of Jonny Tychonick and Ryan O’Connell at the World Junior ‘A’ Championship. Forward Kyle Johnson was also a member of that team.

Evan DeBrouwer has shouldered most of the workload in the Spruce Kings crease this season; playing 1,808 minutes so far this season, second only to Braedon Fleming of the Langley Rivermen. Vees goalie Adam Scheel is fourth in the league at 1,503.

Penticton matched up against the Spruce Kings three times last year because of their meeting at the BCHL Showcase in Chilliwack. The Vees won all three games by scores of 4-0 and two at 3-2.

The two teams will meet again January 18 when Penticton makes the long trek to the Rolling Mix Concrete Arena.

Team Statistics

Leading Scorers

Penticton Vees

Owen Sillinger – 19 G 18 A 35 GP

Nicky Leivermann – 7 G 20 A 34 GP

Taylor Ward – 9 G 16 A 26 GP

Prince George Spruce Kings

Ethan De Jong – 12 G 26 A 32 GP

Ben Brar – 16 G 19 A 38 GP

Ben Poisson – 14 G 20 A 38 GP

Special Teams

Penticton Vees

Power play – 21.2% (4th in BCHL)

Penalty kill – 87.4% (1st in BCHL)

Prince George Spruce Kings

Power play – 14.7% (15th in BCHL)

Penalty kill – 82.2% (8th in BCHL)

Season Series

January 5, 2018 – Vees vs Spruce Kings

January 18, 2018 – Vees @ Spruce Kings