Zack Dallazanna scored in the final minute of regulation, but the Cents couldn’t get the equalizer in game 2 of their pod season against the Spruce Kings and fell by a score of 3-2.
The Cents hit the ice on time on Sunday evening and left the bus troubles of Friday night behind them. They came out of the gate strong but soon found themselves in penalty trouble. At the 4:13 mark Walker Erickson went off for a blow to the head minor and misconduct and at the 8 minute Devin Benson went off for tripping. It meant the Cents had trouble getting the offense going as they were spending time killing penalties. It wasn’t long after the 2nd penalty that Kolton Cousins converted on a goal mouth scramble that was initiated by former Cent Hunor Torzsok. After the media timeout, the Cents came out stronger and were pressing until they eventually broke through on the rush. Mark Thurston drove the zone on the left wing side, dropped back for Jake McLean who found Jerzy Orchard in the slot, and Orchard ripped a wrister top corner, blocker-side on Fairlie to level the score at 1-1. The assist was the first in Thurston’s BCHL career. The teams went to the dressing rooms deadlocked at 1. Shots after 1 were 6-5 PG.
An early penalty in the 2nd period put the Spruce Kings on the powerplay and ex-Cent Christian Buono was able to convert on a screened point shot. Then it was the Cents turn to have a string of powerplay tries including two 2 man advantages. One was roughly 50 seconds, while the other was about 15. The Cents couldn’t make good and that’s what boiled down to the difference as after the powerplays expired Ben LeFranc would score on a broken play and give PG the 3-1 lead. Josh Dias did his part in net denying multiple Spruce King chances, and when defenders were beaten he was there to make the save. Shots after 2 were 18 apiece.
In the third period the Spruce Kings and Cents traded chances, but every time the Cents got a quality opportunity they were denied by goaltender Jordan Fairlee. As the period progressed, Prince George slowly started to lock down defensively. Not to be denied, Merritt continued to press and eventually were rewarded with their own net empty on a goal mouth scramble. Jake McLean made a power move to the net and shot wide, off the end boards it came to Jerzy Orchard for a couple whacks, and then Captain Zack Dallazanna was able to chip it past Fairlee to get the Cents within one. The Cents ran out of time to get the equalizer and fell in game 2 by a score of 3-2. Final shots were 30-28.
After the game, Head Coach Derek Sweet-Coulter said that the hockey gods weren’t on their side.
“You have to convert on a 5-on-3 and when you don’t it doesn’t usually turn out well, that was definitely the turning point in the game.”
The Cents will look to rebound against the Spruce Kings on Wednesday night when they meet for game 3 of the pod season.
Catch all the action on BCHLTV.ca and Q101.ca starting at 5PM.