Spruce Kings pepper Grizzlies but come up short

For the better part of three periods the Prince George Spruce Kings had the Victoria Grizzlies pinned down in defensive posture.

They outplayed their opponent and nearly doubled the Grizzlies in shots, 43-22, but Kurtis Chapman made all the difference for the visitors Friday night at Rolling Mix Concrete Arena.

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The 20-year-old Victoria goalie stopped 40 of those 43 shots and the Grizzlies' top-ranked NHL draft prospect, centre Alex Newhook, provided the margin of victory in a 4-3 decision, scoring the only goal of the third period.

The teams were skating 4-on-4 when Riley Hughes took a shot from the slot that was blocked by goalie Logan Neaton but the rebound came out to Newhook, and the 17-year-old Boston College recruit had an open net for his fourth goal and 13th point in 10 games this season

The win allowed Victoria (6-3-0-0) to keep pace with the Powell River Kings atop the B.C. Hockey League's Island Division standings. The Spruce Kings (7-3-0-1) remained first in the Mainland Division.

Victoria broke out to a 3-0 lead after 20 minutes on goals about three minutes apart from Hughes (power play), Charlie Campbell and Alexander Campbell. Spruce Kings captain Ben Poisson scored shorthanded 1:44 into the second period and goals from Nick Poisson and defenceman Nick Bochen tied it up heading into the second intermission.

The Spruce Kings have the rest of the weekend off.

Their next game is on Thursday when they host Powell River, followed by a Saturday night encounter at RMCA against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks.

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