Spruce Kings close in on Chilliwack

Mission accomplished.
Heading into the homestretch in the B.C. Hockey League season, the Prince George Spruce Kings set out on a three-game weekend road trip tasked with trying to run the table and win all three games against Mainland Division opponents.
For the first time all season in a three-game set they did exactly that, keeping the pressure on the Chilliwack Chiefs in the chase for first-place overall in the league.
The Kings completed the task Sunday afternoon in Surrey, defeating the Surrey Eagles 4-1. Nick Bochen, Dustin Manz, Layton Ahac and Spencer DenBeste, with his second goal in two games, scored for the Spruce Kings. Holden Katzalay opened the scoring for Surrey, 6:17 into the game, the only Eagle to beat goalie Keenan Rancier, who stopped 33 of 34 shots for his third win in four games with the Kings this season.
That came on the heels of a 6-0 victory over the Langley Rivermen Saturday. Lucas Vanroboys scored two goals and added an assist while Logan Neaton made 17 saves for his fifth shutout of the season.
In that game, DenBeste scored his first BCHL goal in 12 games since being acquired by the Kings in December from the Springfield Junior Blues of the NAHL.
The 19-year-old Lake Superior State University recruit from Marquette, Mich., made it a 4-0 game in the second period after Ben Brar, Liam Watson-Brawn and Corey Cunningham chased Rivermen goalie Shane Battler from the game after he allowed three goals on 15 shots. Braedon Fleming replaced Battler in goal and gave up three goals on 10 shots in 30:11 of playing time.
Prince George began the trip with a 4-2 win Friday over the Coquitlam Express.
The perfect trifecta left the Kings (35-12-1-5) just five points behind the Chiefs (40-12-1-0), who they will face three times before the end of the season. Each team has five games left in the season and the Kings can control their own destiny if they keep winning. That won’t be easy against a Chiefs team that’s won eight straight.
The Spruce Kings will put their seven-game winning streak on the line Thursday night at Rolling Mix Concrete Arena against the West Kelowna Warriors. The Kings will try to avenge the 6-1 loss the Warriors hung on them Jan. 20 in West Kelowna, the last time they lost.

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