HIRING: INTERN, HOCKEY OPERATIONS
Date: Oct 17, 2019
The Prince George Spruce Kings celebrate a goal against the Ottawa Junior Senators at the National Jr. A Championships in Brooks, Alta. on Monday. (Matthew Murnaghan/Hockey Canada Images)
By Ron Valentine
Two teams with 1-0 records lined up against each other on Monday night at the National Jr. A Championship in Brooks, Alta as the Ottawa Junior Senators took on the Prince George Spruce Kings in the only game scheduled.
Since the Yzerman Division of the CCHL was formed for the 2013-2014 campaign, the Senators have finished first every season. This time around, they got past the Kanata Lasers four games to one in their playoffs round one then took care of the Brockville Braves in four straight. That set up a meeting in the final with the regular season champions of the Robinson Division, the Carleton Place Canadians, which they won in five games.
The Spruce Kings, after finishing second in the Mainland Division of the BCHL this season, proceeded to eliminate the Coquitlam Express, Chilliwack Chiefs, Victoria Grizzlies and Vernon Vipers, dropping just one game in the process, before hoisting the Doyle Cup, emblematic of the Alberta/B.C championship, in six games over Brooks.
The Spruce Kings iced the same lineup as game one when they topped Oakville 5-1. The Senators also stayed pat after topping Portage 3-0. 20C at game time.
The Kings took the lead as Chong Min Lee skipped around the net and found Nick Poisson, younger brother of team Captain Ben, all alone at the side for the tap-in. In the waning seconds of the first frame rookie Nick Bochen, a Michigan NCAA commit, made it 2-0 the BCHL champs as he walked in on the powerplay from the blueline on the right side to beat 'keeper Francis Boisvert.
The Kings were enjoying a 5 on 3 advantage early in the second and they worked the puck around quickly to set up Ben Brar and the sniper's quick release made it 3-0. Just 36 seconds had gone by. The Kings kept up their relentless pressure but could not get another, due in large part to Boisvert, until a backhand from Dustin Manz found the mark inside the last two minutes. Manz led the team in the regular season with 70 points.
In a large hole going into the third, the Jr. Senators found out that the Spruce Kings were not about to take their feet off the pedal but the final frame would be scoreless. Logan Neaton was called upon to make only 13 saves for the shutout. The player of the game for the Spruce Kings was Patrick Cozzi, For the Junior Senators it was Dunville native Owen Cole.
The Western Canada clubs are now 4-for-4 in the tournament.
Tuesday is a big game for the Oakville Blades as they tangle with Portage in the afternoon game (4 p.m. EDT). Both clubs are 0-2. At night, the Senators face the hometown Bandits.
The top four teams in the five-team tournament round-robin qualify for the semifinals Saturday. The final will be played Sunday at 5 p.m. EDT.
All preliminary round and semifinals will be streamed live on HockeyCanada.ca. The championship game will be broadcast on TSN and streamed on TSN.ca
All Oakville Blades games at the nationals are being broadcast on Oakville Blades Radio. Listen at oakvilleblades.ca