By Jared Thomas, Cents Communications Manager.
The Centennials out-willed and outlasted the Prince George Spruce Kings for their first win of the pod season series against their northern rivals 6-5 on Saturday.
The first period, may have been the best first period from the Cents in the pod, but certainly against the Spruce Kings. Despite surrendering a shorthanded goal to Christian Buono to open the scoring, the Cents bounced back with an answer on the powerplay as Alex Ochitwa sent a backhander past Jordan Fairlie to tie the game and end the shutout streak PG had going against the Cents for 2 and some games. Shots after 1 were 11-7 Prince George.
Unfortunately, in the second period the Cents were outclassed by the Kings as they poured it on from start to finish, but Colton Phillip-Watts kept the Cents in it throughout. Amran Bhabra scored his first in the BCHL when he threw it past the crowd in front it took a deflection and found a way past PW to make it 2-1. The Cents finally came to life in the late goings of the second as Matteo Pecchia blasted a shot so hard from the half wall that it went in and out of the back bar so fast that the officials didn’t catch it and waved it off. The officials didn’t have to review it because before the next whistle Ben Ward crashed to the goal mouth and added his 2nd of the pod to tie the game 2-2. The Cents got into penalty trouble late but survived to the buzzer. Shots after 2 were 27-12 PG.
After a fairly defensive effort from both clubs in the first 2 periods, the third saw that thrown out in favour of offense. Ben Ward got an early breakaway chance that Fairlie got a toe on, but was hauled down so went back to centre for a penalty shot. Ward couldn’t make good as he came in with a head of steam and opted for the shot which Fairlie caught a piece of with the blocker to hold the score level. Simon Labelle would tally on the 5-on-3 advantage to give PG the 3-2 lead. Ochitwa would net his second of the game at the 3 and a half minute mark to tie the game back up 3-3. Just over a minute later Trevor Isaksson would dust off the baseball bat and swing one from knee-high home to make it 4-3. The lead didn’t last long as John Herrington tied things up 2 minutes later with a move off the wall and a shot up high on PW to make it 4-4. Then from stage left came Walker Erickson scoring on a goal mouth scramble to make it 5-4, then 20 seconds later following that up with a partial break and a laser top corner glove side to make it 6-4. All the action happened before the 10 minute mark of the third. Prince George would make things interesting with a goal from Rowan Miller that he’d bank off Talon Zakall, but the Cents would baton down the hatches and Colton Phillips-Watts would turn aside 46/51 shots for his 1st BCHL win, and the Cents first win against the Spruce Kings in the pod. Final shots were 51-23 PG.
After the game acting Head Coach Levi Stuart (who picked up his 1st win as bench boss as well) said the team showed themselves the blueprint of how they have to win.
“I think we proved to ourselves when we work hard, out work the opponents, win those 50/50 battles, we win hockey games. If the guys learn from this, they can continue this trend.”
The Cents look to replicate the effort tonight against the Chilliwack Chiefs tomorrow.