The Prince George Spruce Kings opened the 2021-22 season in fine style Friday night in Merritt, where they laid an 8-1 pasting on the host Centennials.
Lake Superior State University recruit John Herrington of Hudson's Hope led the red-light brigade with two goals. Kilian McGregor-Bennett collected a goal and two assists, while Rowan Miller, Jimmy Doyle, Kolton Cousins, Simon Labelle and Ty Gagno also scored for Prince George. Walker Erickson was the lone Merritt marksman.
The Spruce Kings went 9-1 against the Cents during the spring pod season and outscored them 10-2 in two exhibition games this fall and their mastery of their closest geographic opponents continued Friday.
Power-play goals from Herrington, a bullet one-timer, and McGregor-Bennett, set up on a goalmouth pass from Max Borovinsky, gave the Kings a 2-1 lead to take into the second period. They scored four more goals on eight shots in the middle period to chase goalie John Hicks, a 16-year-old from Kamloops making his first BCHL start. Brayden Melnyk replaced Hicks and gave up two goals on 15 shots in the third period.
Twenty-year-old Aaron Trotter barely broke a sweat in net for the Kings, making 16 saves as his team outshot Merritt 40-17.
The Spruce Kings scored on three of their five power-play chances while Merritt was scoreless in two chances with the extra skater.
LOOSE PUCKS: The Kings play Saturday night in West Kelowna in the Warriors’ season-opening game. Join Cole Waldie for the audio play-by-play broadcast on 93.3 FM Rewind Radio or watch the webcast on Hockey TV… Spruce Kings LW Linden Makow of Vanderhoof went down with a shoulder injury in the first period and did not return… Veteran Prince George LW Nick Rheaume drew two assists as the game’s third star. Gagno, a native of Langley, scored his first BCHL goal, as did Doyle, who makes his off-season home in Plainfield, Ill. Rookie D Evan Fedele set up Gagno’s counter to record his first career point.