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Road to the 2019 National Junior A Championship: Prince George Spruce Kings
The Pacific Region champions used a four-month run of dominance to earn a trip to Brooks
Jason La Rose
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May 6, 2019
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The Prince George Spruce Kings arrived home licking their wounds after a four-game January road trip.

The Spruce Kings lost three of four on the trip, capped off by a 6-1 defeat at the hands of the West Kelowna Warriors that was their worst of the season, and had just three wins in their previous 10 games.

The calendar says the loss in West Kelowna was 111 days away from the first drop of the puck at the 2019 National Junior A Championship, but it might as well have been a lifetime ago.

Beginning with a 4-3 shootout win over Coquitlam on Jan. 25, Prince George has gone a remarkable 32-4; it finished the regular season on a 12-1 run, went 16-1 to win its first BCHL title and downed the Brooks Bandits in six games to claim to the Doyle Cup as Pacific Region titlists.

Now it’s on to the national championship, and the Spruce Kings will be bringing momentum with them.

Prince George did its share of scoring in the playoffs, averaging 3.43 goals per game, but defence remains its calling card – the Spruce Kings allowed just 2.07 GPG in the regular season (third-best in the 133-team CJHL), and gave up only 38 goals in 23 postseason games.

While it’s the first time the Spruce Kings have been BCHL and Pacific Region champions, it’s not their first trip to Canada’s National Junior A Championship – they hosted in 2007, winning the longest game in tournament history in the semifinals (a five-overtime win over Camrose) en route to a runner-up finish.

HOW THEY GOT TO BROOKS

British Columbia Hockey League
Preliminary round: defeated Coquitlam 4-1 (3-1, 3-2 OT, 5-2, 0-3, 4-2)
Quarter-final: defeated Chilliwack 4-0 (7-0, 3-2, 8-0, 3-1)
Semifinal: defeated Victoria 4-0 (4-2, 4-2, 4-2, 3-2 OT)
BCHL championship: defeated Vernon 4-0 (3-1, 4-1, 4-3 OT, 3-1)

Doyle Cup
Championship: defeated Brooks 4-2 (2-0, 1-3, 0-4, 3-1, 4-1, 4-2)

REGULAR SEASON

Record (W-L-OTL): 39-13-6 (2nd in BCHL)
Goals for: 181 (10th in BCHL)
Goals against: 120 (1st in BCHL)
Power play: 47 for 238 (19.7% – 11th in BCHL)
Penalty killing: 153 of 185 (82.7% – 4th in BCHL)
Longest winning streak: 9 (Jan. 25-Feb. 14)
Top 3 scorers:
- Dustin Manz – 33G 37A 70P (4th in BCHL)
- Ben Brar – 35G 26A 61P (13th in BCHL)
- Patrick Cozzi – 14G 44A 58P (23rd in BCHL)

PLAYOFFS

Record: 20-3
Goals for: 79
Goals against: 38
Power play: 18 for 76 (23.7%)
Penalty killing: 54 of 67 (80.6%)
Top 3 scorers:
- Ben Poisson – 15G 10A 25P
- Patrick Cozzi – 6G 19A 25P
- Nolan Welsh – 6G 13A 19P

NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY

2007 – Prince George Spruce Kings | second place | 3-3 | 16GF 18GA

COMMITMENTS

Layton Ahac – Ohio State University (2019-20)
Dylan Anhorn – Union College (2019-20)
Nick Bochen – University of Michigan (2020-21)
Ben Brar – Merrimack College (2019-20)
Max Coyle – University of Alabama-Huntsville (2019-20)
Patrick Cozzi – Colorado College (2019-20)
Spencer DenBeste – Lake Superior State University (2020-21)
Sean Donaldson – University of Connecticut (2020-21)
Dustin Manz – Lake Superior State University (2019-20)
Logan Neaton – University of Massachusetts-Lowell (2020-21)
Ben Poisson – University of Maine (2019-20)
Liam Watson-Brawn – Colgate University (2019-20)

CJHL TOP 20 RANKINGS

Sept. 24 – 16th
Oct. 1 – Honourable Mention
Oct. 8 – not ranked
Oct. 15 – not ranked
Oct. 22 – not ranked
Oct. 29 – not ranked
Nov. 5 – Honourable Mention
Nov. 12 – not ranked
Nov. 19 – 20th
Nov. 26 – 15th
Dec. 3 – 16th
Dec. 10 – 17th
Dec. 17 – 20th
Jan. 7 – Honourable Mention
Jan. 14 – Honourable Mention
Jan. 21 – not ranked
Jan. 28 – not ranked
Feb. 4 – not ranked
Feb. 11 – 19th
Feb. 18 – 17th
Feb. 25 – 16th
March 4 – 16th

For more information:

Esther Madziya
Coordinator, Media Relations
Hockey Canada
403-284-6484
[email protected]

 

Spencer Sharkey
Coordinator, Communications
Hockey Canada
Office: 403-777-4567
Mobile: 905-906-5327
[email protected]

 

Katie Macleod
Coordinator, Media Relations
Hockey Canada
Office: 403-284-6427
Mobile: 403-612-2893
[email protected]

 

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