Home ice and a little bit of puck luck just might be the cure for the Prince George Spruce Kings' offensive woes.
After being sunk with a pair of losses to start the season last weekend at the BCHL Showcase in Chilliwack, the Spruce Kings will try to right their ship when they host the Chilliwack Chiefs in a two-game series tonight (7 p.m.) and Saturday at the Coliseum.
The Spruce Kings opened the season Saturday with a 4-3 loss to the Cowichan Valley Capitals then were defeated 3-1 by the Nanaimo Clippers. Four goals in two games simply won't cut it for a team that intends to climb the B.C. Hockey League ladder.
"We just didn't get those goals, that's been our struggle here this year and we have to fix it ," said Kings head coach Dave Dupas. "We're not even on a two-goal-per-game pace if you take into consideration the exhibition games."
The Cowichan game was one that got away on the Spruce Kings. They dominated most of the game and led 3-1 early in the third period but gave up three unanswered goals while outshooting the Caps 29-17. Alex Murray, a 20-year-old goalie the Kings brought in from Ontario in the off-season, went through long periods of inactivity in his first BCHL game and that came back to bite him in the end as he allowed three goals on five shots in the third period.
"That was one was tough to let go of, " said 19-year-old Kings defenceman Mitch Eden. "We're a young group and a lot of the guys haven't played junior A hockey before. At a lower level you can get away with a couple soft plays here and there but in this league you can't."
Eden, a St. Lawrence University recruit for 2014-15, was third in Kings scoring last season with 37 points in 55 games. He was moved to forward for the Nanaimo game to fill in for injured Kings Brayden Epp and Cole Todd, who are both ready to play this weekend.
Although the Kings have yet to select a team captain, Eden is wearing an 'A' on his sweater along with defenceman Karan Toor and forward Bryant Christian.
The Chiefs were embarrassed 6-1 on home ice by Powell River in their opening game, but returned to their rink with a much better effort the following day, tying Vernon 1-1. Dupas watched those games and he isn't reading too much into what happened to Harvey Smyl's team that weekend.
"The difficult thing is you're not seeing teams at their best, everyone is still tinkering with their lineup and their lines, with players coming and going, nobody has any consistency right now," Dupas said. "Nobody knows who the good teams are right now until you play few games and see who's winning on a consistent basis."
n Fans are invited for a pre-game tailgate party today at 5 p.m. in front of the Coliseum. A minimum $4 donation is all that's required for a hot dog, chips and a pop, with all proceeds being donated to the B.C. SPCA. Everyone who attends the tailgate party will receive a draw entry form for a trip for two to see the Vancouver Canucks play in their home opener Oct. 5 against the Edmonton Oilers.