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Spruce Kings shell Cents with 61 shots in 5-1 victory

Top-tiered Vees next in line as Kings' opponents at RMCA on Wednesday

No offence to goalie Aaron Trotter, but the Prince George Spruce Kings didn’t really need him to be at his guarding their nets Saturday night.

Especially considering the way they were playing in front of him against the Merritt Centennials on the rink at Rolling Mix Concrete Arena.

Trotter had an easy time of it while recording his 10th win of the season. The 20-year-old Victoria native faced just 13 shots while the Kings pounded a season-high 61 shots at the Cents in a 5-1 victory in front of 749 spectators.

The shelling started early, with the Spruce Kings killing a penalty, when Colton Cameron joined Kings captain Kolton Cousins on a shorthanded 2-on-1 break. Goalie Jackson Baker made the save off Cousins’ backhanded attempt but Cameron was there to bang in the rebound for a 1-0 lead.

Meritt tied it up on the same power play with Ryan Mulrenin connecting for his sixth of these season at 2:21, but just 14 seconds later Luc Laylin restored the Prince George lead, chasing Baker from the game after he allowed two goals on five shots.

 Austin Fraser beat replacement goalie Peyton Trzsaka to add to the total late in the period and after a scoreless second period the Kings scored two more in the third period. John Herrington scored his team-leading 17th of the season 18 seconds into the third, and Ty Gagno capped the scoring on a Kings’ power play plate in the game.

It was the third-straight win for the Spruce Kings (17-9-2-1-0, .638 winning percentage) and they moved to within seven points of the second-place Penticton Vees. The Cents (2-24-1-0-0) are last overall in the BCHL.

Merritt went 1-for-5 on the power play, while the Spruce Kings scored just once in eight power-play chances.

LOOSE PUCKS: The Spruce Kings host the second-place Penticton Vees (21-5-0-2-0, .786 winning percentage) Wednesday night at RMCA, then head south to Trail for a three-game series Friday-Sunday… The Vees’ game in Wenatchee scheduled for Saturday was postponed due to the pandemic and players having to isolate after COVID exposures… The Alberni Valley Bulldogs beat the Cowichan Valley Capitals 4-0 Saturday in Port Alberni. The game marked the return of BCHL referee Braiden Epp in his first game back since being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis last spring, while he was officiating games in the Alberni Valley pod. Epp, 25, played 160 games over four seasons for the Spruce Kings before he was traded in his 20-year-old season in Sept. 28,2016 to the West Kelowna Warriors for 20-year-old defenceman Tyler Anderson.