Prince George Spruce Kings 2 - Camrose Kodiaks 4
KODIAKS REBOUND FROM SLOW START TO TOP SPRUCE KINGS
Karl Stollery scored the game-winning goal on a 5-on-3 powerplay just 29 seconds into the third period, helping the Camrose Kodiaks to a 4-2 win over the host Prince George Spruce Kings on Sunday night at CN Centre.
The Pacific Region champions found themselves in a 2-0 hole just three minutes into the second period before rebounding to pick up the victory.
“We came out sluggish, and not playing our game,” Kodiaks head coach Boris Rybalka said following the win. “I was pleased with how we battled and competed and how we came back.”
Alain Joanette got the Spruce Kings on the board first, connecting on a Prince George two-man advantage six minutes into the opening frame after a tic-tac-toe passing play. Assists went to Jason Yuel and Jesse Fratkin.
Joanette picked up an assist on Prince George’s second goal, setting up Chris Shudo at the 2:59 mark of the second, giving the hosts a two-goal advantage.
The Kodiaks got one back eight minutes later, as the puck ricocheted off the skate of Jesse Todd and past Spruce Kings goaltender Jordan White to cut the lead in half.
Camrose pulled even just 1:38 later as David Andreassen stripped the puck from a Spruce Kings defender and roofed a backhand over a sprawling White, setting up Stollery’s winner.
The Kodiaks’ blueliner fired a shot from the point that eluded the Prince George goaltender, completing the comeback and dropping the 2007 RBC Royal Bank Cup hosts to 1-1.
Kodiaks captain Brady Cook rounded out the scoring with 57 seconds left, scoring into an empty net.
Allen York turned aside 26 shots in the Camrose goal to pick up the victory, including a game-saving post-to-post stop on a Prince George powerplay with less than three minutes to go, while White made 29 saves in a losing cause.
Stollery’s goal earned him the Player of the Game nod for the Kodiaks, while Tyler Helfrich earned the honour for the Spruce Kings.
The Kodiaks return to the ice at CN Centre on Monday night when they take on the Selkirk Steelers, while the Spruce Kings will have the day off before facing the Aurora Tigers on Tuesday night.
SPRUCE KINGS LOOK TO BUILD ON BIG WIN IN GAME AGAINST KODIAKS
The Prince George Spruce Kings look to build on their opening night win when they take on the Camrose Kodiaks on Sunday night at CN Centre, in front of what should be another loud, pro-Spruce Kings crowd.
More than 3,100 watched the hosts top the Pembroke Lumber Kings 5-2 in Saturday night’s tournament opener, and the Spruce Kings hope to use that momentum and crowd support to a win over one of the tournament favourites.
Jordan Inglis proved 52 days off did not affect his game, scoring twice and adding two assists to pace the Spruce Kings on Saturday. Prince George will need another offensive outburst if they hope to move to 2-0.
The Kodiaks are once again at the RBC Royal Bank Cup, looking for their fourth championship game appearance in seven years – they won the title in 2001, and finished as runner-up in 2003 and 2005.
It was a scoring-by-committee approach in Camrose in 2006-07, as six players recorded at least 40 points, led by Chris Barton’s 61 (23 goals, 38 assists). In addition, five players recorded at least 20 goals, with a sixth – AJHL Rookie of the Year Mike Connolly – finishing just two goals shy of the mark.
The Spruce Kings can cement themselves as the real thing with a win over one of the country’s powerhouse Junior A franchises, while the Kodiaks can take their first step to another championship game berth with a win. Either way, one team will prove itself worthy of the title ‘national championship contender’ with a victory.