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HomeNewsSpruce Kings derail Express in mid-week nail-biter

Spruce Kings derail Express in mid-week nail-biter

Linden Makow knows how to score goals – he just needs to fill the net a little more often if the Prince George Spruce Kings wish to exit the lower rungs of the BCHL’s Interior Conference.

The 18-year-old forward from Vanderhoof did exactly that, lighting the lamp twice in a wild 5-4 victory Wednesday night against the Coquitlam Express in front of a sparse crowd of 603 fans at the Kopar Memorial Arena.

The trio of Makow, Killian McGregor-Bennett and Owen Goodbrand took the game by the throat and dominated for much of the third period, combining for two of three PG goals.

Thirteen seconds into the period a rush by Goodbrand led to a sharp angle shot that bounced off Coquitlam goaltender Adam Manji finding Makow who then set up McGregor-Bennett who made no mistake, giving the Spruce Kings a 3-1 lead.

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Six minutes later, Makow would be the recipient of the grunt work from his linemates, where his sharp-angle pass, which was intended for Goodbrand bounced off an Express stick and into the goal.

PG would make it 5-1 as a steal by Kazumo Sasaki at the Coquitlam blueline led to a Goodbrand pass who connected with Lucas Veilleux.

However, just when you thought the Spruce Kings were home and cooled, Coquitlam picked themselves off the mat and ignited a late flurry in the dying minutes.

At 15:08, a strong play in the corner by Dallas Stars draft pick Spencer Bradshaw found Drew Garzone who tucked home the puck past an outstretched Marcus Ouellet.

A slashing infraction by Tristen Taylor put the Express on a late power-play where Jospeh Odyniec found the back of the net, trimming the Spruce Kings lead to 5-3.

With Manji pulled in favour of the extra-attacker, former Cowichan Valley Capitals forward Cole Melady led a rush into the PG where he spotted Luke Vardy whose slapshot went off the face of Spruce Kings blueliner Kai Greaves and right Garzone who collected his second of the game.

As the final buzzer sounded, Coquitlam (7-7-0-1) outshot the Spruce Kings 40-32 including an 18-8 margin in the third period. Ouellet made 36 saves in the victory for PG who improved to 5-8-3-0.

The Spruce Kings went 1-for-7 on the power-play while the Express were 1-for-5. Coquitlam came up empty on a near-two minute 5-on-3 in the first period.

Coquitlam led 1-0 after the first period as a wrist shot from Noah Dziver went bar-down on Ouellet following a Trent Ballentyne turnover inside the Spruce Kings blueline.

After starting the game 0-for-5 on the power-play, PG head coach Alex Evin turned to his fourth line for an offensive spark and they came up aces.

A centre-ice feed from Brogan McNeil found Skogen Schrott who wheeled into the Express zone and found Sasaki who had a yawning cage to shoot at for a 1-1 game.

Ten minutes later, Makow notched his first of the contest on the power-play on a one-timer following a feed from Sasaki to put PG up for good.

At the tail end of the second, the sparks began to fly on the ice as a dangerous hit by Express forward Logan Morrell on Amran Bhabra led to a scrap between him and Schrott.

Goodbrand, Makow and Sasaki ended the night with three-point games for PG while McGregor-Bennett had a goal and an assist.

Drew Garzone finished with two goals and one assist in defeat for the Express.

The Spruce Kings hit the road for a pair of games this weekend with stops in Penticton against the top-ranked Vees (Friday) and the Merritt Centennials on Saturday.

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