On a night of missed opportunities, the Prince George Spruce Kings settled for a single point against the Merritt Centennials.
In a B.C. Hockey League game played Saturday night at the Coliseum, the Kings and Centennials went to double overtime but weren't able to break a 2-2 deadlock. The home team had seven power plays -- including a pair of 5-on-3s -- but only managed to score once with the man advantage. That lack of production didn't sit well with head coach Dave Dupas.
"Our power play is not very good right now," Dupas said. "We got one [goal] tonight and should have had more. We had opportunities to do it, and this is costing us. It cost us against Trail last weekend [in a 4-3 overtime loss] and it cost us tonight.
"I feel like we're getting outworked by the penalty kill," added Dupas, whose team is 4-for-28 on the power play so far this season. "We just don't have that intensity. We're losing battles. We can have two or three guys in the corner against one and they seem to come out of the corner with the puck. That's unacceptable for us. We can't lose battles on the power play."
The Kings aren't the only team that has struggled against Merritt's penalty-kill. The Cents are currently at the top of the league in that category, with 19 kills in 20 shorthanded situations. The lone power-play goal they allowed on Saturday -- scored by Prince George's Cam Lawson at 7:09 of the second period -- was the one that tied the game.
The Centennials had a 2-1 lead after the first. Merritt's Brandon Bruce opened the scoring on an early power play and the Cents had all the momentum as they outshot the Kings 9-0 to start the game. But, Jeremiah Luedtke gave the Coliseum faithful reason to cheer when he tied the score at the 13:19 mark. Jeff Wight restored the Centennials' lead a little more than a minute later when he found daylight between the pads of Prince George goalie Kirk Thompson.
The Kings came up empty on two silver-platter chances in the first period, as both Tyson Witala and Lawson failed to hit open nets from the crease area.
Luedtke's goal was the first of his BCHL career and it was a beauty. On the play, he found some open ice in the high slot and used some fancy footwork to elude a couple of Merritt defenders. He then got a shot away and successfully followed up on his own rebound when he dove for the puck and slid it home with a backhander.
"I was having a bit of a struggle last weekend, just trying to get my first goal," said Luedtke, a 17-year-old forward from Lynnwood, Wash. "I hit a couple posts but I was just glad I was getting chances. I knew my first goal would come soon enough."
Russell Sanderson, a 17-year-old Merritt product, was between the pipes for the Centennials and was making his BCHL debut.
The Centennials outshot the Spruce Kings 36-26, including 8-4 in the overtime sessions. The Cents went 1-for-2 on the power play.
The Kings' record now stands at 3-0-1-1. Merritt, meanwhile, moved to 2-1-1-0.
Announced attendance was 1,147.
The Spruce Kings will play their next six games on the road, beginning Friday in Vernon. The team's next home date is Oct. 12 against the Powell River Kings.