Kirk Thompson was rewarded with a day of rest by the Prince George Spruce Kings after a 45-save performance in Saturday's 5-3 win over the Chilliwack Chiefs.
Unfortunately the 20-year-old goalie's teammates also decided to rest Sunday, which allowed the the Coquitlam Express to skate to a 4-1 win. The win gave the Express (22-29-1) a sweep of the Spruce Kings (24-20-1-7) in B.C. Hockey League action this weekend. Friday the Spruce Kings fell 5-3 in Coquitlam.
In between the disappointing efforts in Coquitlam the Spruce Kings received goals from Mitch Eden, Cameron Lawson, Chad Staley, Bryant Christian and Coltyn Hansen in the win over the Chiefs (30-20-1-1) who are eight points ahead of Prince George for home-ice advantage in the first-round best-of-five playoff series between the Mainland division rivals. Both teams have four games left on their regular season schedules.
Christian opened the scoring 72 seconds into Sunday's game to give the Spruce Kings a 1-0 lead but took over from there, peppering Prince George goalie Liam McLeod with 32 shots. McLeod was beaten on twice on the power play and twice at even strength as Adam Rockwood, Mitchell Fyffe, Nick Hermary and Justin Georgeson scored for the Express.
Prince George players only put 18 shots on Express goalie Cole Huggins with 10 coming in the second period.
The Spruce Kings play three of their remaining home games this weekend, starting Friday with a visit from the Vernon Vipers (17-24-1-9) before welcoming the Langley Rivermen (22-23-1-5) for a pair of games Saturday and Sunday. The Kings closeout the regular season at the Coliseum on March 9 when the Salmon Arm Silverbacks (22-23-2-4) visit.
The Express kept their playoff chances alive with the sweep of the Spruce Kings as they trail the fourth place Rivermen by five points in the race for the final playoff spot in the Mainland division. Langley has five games remaining in the regular season while the Express have four.
Surrey has clinched first place in the Mainland division while the Victoria Grizzlies have locked up first in the Island division and will face the fourth place Powell River Kings in the first round of the playoffs. The Nanaimo Clippers (29-19-0-3) hold a two-point advantage over the Alberni Valley Bulldogs (26-19-2-5) as the teams battle for home-ice advantage in their first-round series.
In the Interior division, the Penticton Vees (34-14-0-4), Merritt Centennials (31-15-2-3) and West Kelowna Warriors (25-13-3-9) have clinched playoff berths while the Silverbacks are tied with the Trail Smoke Eaters (24-27-0-2) for the final spot. Salmon Arm holds two games in hand. The Vipers are six points back in the Interior with five games to go.