September 21, 2013, Prince George, BC (ISN) – Jake LeBrun netted a hat-trick, including scoring the game-winning goal in the third period, as the Prince George Spruce Kings held off the Vees 4-3 Friday at the Coliseum.
The lost snaps the Vees season opening four-game win streak.
LeBrun scored the game-winner without even using his stick. With the Vees on the penalty-kill, LeBrun had a shot from the point go off his skate and past a fallen Olivier Mantha at 12:25.The Vees protested the puck was illegally kicked-in but the goal stood; LeBrun’s third goal putting the Spruce Kings up for good.
The Vees started well, opening the scoring just over six minutes into the first period. Cam Amantea bagged his first of the season after finishing off his own rebound. Anthony Conti came down the right-wing and centered the puck for a streaking Amantea. The first shot was stopped but from his backside, Amantea managed to jam the puck across the goal-line at 6:16.
The Spruce Kings drew level four minutes later when Jake LeBrun shoveled in his first of the night at 10:21. Lebrun found a loose puck at the top of crease and managed to force it past Olivier Mantha and just over the goal-line.
Chad Staley gave the Spruce Kings their first lead of the game after he too cashed-in in on a rebound in close quarters. On the Spruce Kings second power-play of the period, Stanley was first to a rebound at the edge of the crease and put the puck underneath a fallen Mantha at 16:35.
LeBrun pushed the Spruce Kings lead to two and just before the period was out. Another scramble developed in front of the Vees goal and LeBrun again managed to muscle the puck into the goal; his second coming at 19:35.
Ben Dalpe helped the Vees chip away at the Spruce Kings lead when he stole a page from their game plan. On a Vees power-play, Ryan Gropp had his shot from the right-wing stopped but Dalpe crashed the crease and banged in his second of the season at 17:13; the Vees within one going into the third.
Prince George ran into penalty trouble early in the third period, as Cole Todd was assessed a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct for a dangerous hit in the corner on Josh Blanchard. Then Skylar Pacheco was thrown into the box for a high hit on Cody DePourcq just minutes later.
As a result the Vees were given a full two-minute five-on-three power-play and they didn’t let it go to waste. Brad McClure put the Vees back on level terms when he wired a wrist-shot from the slot over Jesse Jenks’ glove at 5:51.
The Vees did pull the goalie in the closing minutes of the third but couldn’t manufacture an equalizer. Their comeback attempt ended when they were called for an elbowing penalty with just fifteen seconds left.
Final Score: 4-3 Spruce Kings
Shots: 39-24 Vees
Power-Play: Vees 2/8 Spruce Kings 2/7
Three Stars: 1) Jake Lebrun 2) Jesse Jenks 3) Brad McClure
With the loss the Vees are now winless in their last three trips to the Coliseum in Prince George dating back to March 10th, 2012. Coming into tonight’s action the Vees had only surrendered four goals in their previous four games combine. The loss, coupled with West Kelowna’s win over Salmon Arm, means the Vees and Warriors are tied atop of the Interior Division with eight points each.
The Vees finish up their season opening six-game road trip next Wednesday in Vernon, against the Vipers in their first visit to Kal-Tire Place, the home of the 2014 RBC Cup; puck drop is 7pm. Fans can watch the game on www.fasthockey.com and listen to EZ Rock AM 800 or online at www.penticton.myezrock.com