Selkirk Steelers 1 - Prince George Spruce Kings 2
A WIN TO GET IN – SPRUCE KINGS CLINCH SEMI-FINAL SPOT WITH WIN OVER STEELERS
The Prince George Spruce Kings will play at least once more on home ice at the 2007 RBC Royal Bank Cup after clinching a spot in Saturday’s semi-final with a 2-1 win over the Selkirk Steelers on Wednesday night.
Jordan Inglis’ powerplay goal, just 35 seconds after Selkirk’s Evan Walsh received a minor penalty and a game misconduct for a hit from behind, stood up as the winner as the Spruce Kings finished their round robin with a 2-2 record.
“I’m very proud of the way our guys came out and did what they needed to do to get the job done tonight,” Spruce Kings head coach Ed Dempsey said following the win. “Hopefully we can keep it going on the weekend.”
Spruce Kings goaltender Jordan White was arguably the best player on the ice for his team, keeping the game scoreless through 40 minutes with a number of spectacular saves. The Steelers outshot Prince George 28-18 in the first two periods.
The Spruce Kings finally broke through for the game’s first goal less than a minute into the third period, as Jason Yuel backhanded a shot over the shoulder of Steelers goaltender Andrew Leslie, who was fantastic in a losing cause.
The West Region champions took just five minutes to pull even as Wes Pawluk poked a rebound past White, giving the Steelers life.
But Inglis would restore the Spruce Kings lead 52 seconds later, and White would shut the door the rest of the way, sending the National Junior A Championship hosts to the weekend.
Prince George outshot the Steelers 16-6 in the final 20 minutes.
The Steelers still have a chance to get in to Saturday as well, needing a win over the Pembroke Lumber Kings in the final round robin game on Thursday to clinch a semi-final spot.
Alain Joanette picked up Player of the Game honours for the Spruce Kings, while Adam Sergerie did the same for the Steelers.
SPRUCE KINGS CLOSE OUT ROUND ROBIN AGAINST STEELERS
The Prince George Spruce Kings become the first team to wrap up their 2007 RBC Royal Bank Cup round robin on Wednesday night as they take on the Selkirk Steelers at CN Centre.
The Spruce Kings gave the Aurora Tigers a run for their money on Tuesday night, three times getting to within a goal in what ended up as a 6-3 loss to the Central Region champions. The tournament hosts connected for both of their goals on the man advantage, with Tyler Helfrich scoring twice and adding an assist in a losing cause.
Sitting at 1-2, the Spruce Kings would desperately love a win in their final preliminary round contest, as a loss would put their fate in the hands of the Pembroke Lumber Kings, who would need one win in their final two games to bump Prince George from a semi-final spot.
The Steelers enter the game as the only winless team at the 2007 RBC Royal Bank Cup, but a win against the Spruce Kings would move them to within striking distance of a weekend game.
Selkirk looked outmatched against the Camrose Kodiaks on Monday night, getting outshot 31-10 in the opening two periods. Only the standout play of goaltender Andrew Leslie prevented the game from finishing more lopsided. They will need a much stronger effort against the tournament hosts if they hope to play past Thursday.
As the round robin winds down in Prince George every game becomes must-win, with either a playoff spot or playoff positioning on the line. With both teams still in the hunt for a semi-final spot, expect an emotional game on Wednesday night.