For the first time this season, the Prince George Spruce Kings were swept in a weekend series inside their own rink.
The Cranbrook Bucks defeated the Spruce Kings 4-1 Saturday night at Kopar Memorial Arena, following up their 3-2 victory from the night before.
Saturday’s loss extended the Spruce Kings’ losing streak to three games, matching a season high.
Cranbrook outshot the Spruce Kings through the entire game, ending the game with a 36-32 edge. Nathan Airey earned both wins in goal for the Bucks. Aiden Feddema drew the start for Prince George and stopped 32 of 35 shots before being pulled late in the third period.
Jack Silich opened the scoring for the Bucks with his team-leading 16th of the season in the first period, cashing in a Spruce Kings’ giveaway inside their own zone. Silich, who forced the turnover, scored unassisted.
In the second period, Jack Stockfish scooped up a rebound from the side of the Cranbrook net and whipped around the net for the wraparound, scoring his sixth goal of the season to tie the game at 2:31. Jake Schneider was credited with the assist on the play.
For the initial five minutes of the period, it appeared as though the Spruce Kings were shifting the momentum after tying up the score. However, that quickly came to a half following a tripping penalty to Ben LeFranc.
The Bucks responded on the powerplay. With nine seconds remaining to LeFranc's penalty, Jarrod Smith stepped into the right-wing circle and fired in Cranbrook’s second goal of the game, his eighth of the season.
Back on the powerplay shortly later, the Bucks made it a perfect 2-for-2 with the man advantage. Cameron Kungle scored his third of the season at 9:42 of the second period to stretch the Bucks’ lead to 3-1.
With just over three minutes remaining, Kings head coach Alex Evin opted to pull Feddema in favour of the extra skater in a last-push effort. However, the Spruce Kings struggled to push the puck into the offensive zone as the Bucks held on and Donovan Frias scored his 10th of the season into an empty-net goal with seven seconds left.
The Spruce Kings will be in action again on Wednesday when they visit the West Kelowna Warriors. The Warriors (14-6-3-0-0) are tied for second in the Interior Division standings with the Cranbrook. Both teams have 31 points.
Prince George (13-9-1-1) ranks fifth in the Interior Division.
The next game at Kopar Memorial Arena will be Friday against the Cowichan Valley Capitals, now coached by Mike Vandekamp. It will be the annual Drop The Gloves and Sock It To ‘Em promotion and fans are being asked to bring items of warm winter clothing in bags to be tossed onto the ice after the Spruced Kings score their first goal. The items will be donated to the St. Vincent de Paul Society.