For the second time in three games the Prince George Spruce Kings were unable to find their scoring touch, falling 2-0 on Sunday to the Nanaimo Clippers.
The Clippers (19-14-0-2) broke open a scoreless game early in the third period at the Frank Crane Arena with a pair of goals, 151 seconds apart, to hand the Spruce Kings (18-12-1-5) their second loss on their three-game road trip through the B.C. Hockey League's coastal division.
Matthew Grant sent up the opening goal by Christopher Rygus for the Clippers before beating Kings goalie Kirk Thompson with the insurance marker. Nanaimo goalie Jayson Argue finished the job to pick up the 26-save shutout.
Former Prince George Cougars forward Greg Fraser picked up an assist on Grant's goal giving him 13 goals and 37 points in his final season of junior eligibility.
It was the third consecutive start for Thompson in the Spruce Kings net as the 20-year-old goalie made 38 saves in a losing cause after backstopping his team to a 2-1 victory Saturday over the Alberni Valley Bulldogs, stopping 37 shots. In Friday's 2-0 loss to the Powell River Kings, Thompson also made 37 saves, keeping the Spruce Kings chances for a comeback alive.
The loss in Powell River was the Spruce Kings first game action after an 18-day break and it showed as they only managed 16 shots on Kings goalie Jonah Imoo.
In the win over the Bulldogs, Justin Rai tied the game at 1-1 early in the second period with an unassisted goal after Alberni Valley opened the scoring midway through the first period on a Hunter Stewart goal.
Tyson Witala gave the Spruce Kings the only lead they enjoyed all weekend with about 14 minutes to play, finishing a three-way passing play with Coltyn Hansen and Cameron Lawson and beating Bulldogs goalie Jay Deo.
The Spruce Kings made the trip to Vancouver Island without forward Lyndon Martell, who has been in and out of the lineup due to injury all season.
It'll be almost two more weeks before Spruce Kings fans will be able to witness a game at the Coliseum as Prince George is on the road again this weekend with games, Friday (7 p.m.) in Chilliwack against the Mainland division-leading Chiefs (22-11-1-1) and Saturday (7 p.m.) against the basement-dwelling Coquitlam Express (16-19-1). The Spruce Kings trail the Chiefs and Surrey Eagles (21-10-1-3) by four points but their rivals each have a game in hand.
In addition to the Spruce Kings, the Chiefs and Eagles also lost this weekend while the Express have dropped their last four games. The Langley Rivermen (15-14-1-5) have won their last four games to move with six points of the Kings.
The Canadian Junior Hockey League trade deadline is Thursday for BCHL and other leagues teams to stock up for a playoff run to the Western Canada Cup, April 27 to May 5 in Nanaimo with a berth in the 2013 RBC Cup in Summerside, P.E.I., up for grabs.