HIRING: INTERN, HOCKEY OPERATIONS
Date: Oct 17, 2019
The Oakville Blades enjoy dinner at the Brooks Golf Club Wednesday during an off-day at the National Junior A Championship in Alberta. (Photo courtesy Brooks Golf Club)
By Ron Valentine
The jig was already up for the Portage Terriers at this year’s National Junior A Championship so they were playing for pride when they met the Prince George Spruce Kings (2-0) in the only game on Day 5 of the tournament in Brooks, Alta Wednesday.
The Terriers, 0-3 coming in, have had trouble scoring goals and the four they scored against the Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Oakville Blades on Tuesday was a high for them. The 2020 edition of the NJC will be in Portage so they are guaranteed a spot.
Forwards Nick Wilson and Spencer DeBeste moved into the Kings' lineup. Blueliners Tyler van Deynze, Peyton Gorski and Austin Clyne plus forward Brayden Billaney drew in for the Terriers.
Early goals have been a familiar occurrence in the tournament and this game would be no exception with Union College commit defenceman Dylan Anhorn sifting in to score after 55 seconds of Period 1. Chong Min Lee scored from a bad angle to make it 2-0 Prince George at 7:53. One-way traffic now as Ben Brar walked in to get their third on a wrist shot with four minutes remaining. You might have been forgiven for thinking the ice was tilted as the shots were in Prince George's favour 20-3 and they led 3-0 and could have had more if a couple of goalposts had not intervened.
Keenan Rancier replaced starter Logan Neaton to open the second period for the Kings, to give the younger 'keeper some tournament experience. On the powerplay, Nolan Welsh converted the rebound of a point shot from Tillsonburg's Max Coyle and it's 4-0 for the BCHL champs. Another dominant period for Prince George who were in cruise control outshooting Portage 12-2.
On their sixth shot of the contest, the Terriers got one early in the third as blueliner Orca Wiesblatt did the spadework before the veteran Billaney had an empty side to shoot at. This was just the second goal scored on the Kings, the other one coming from the Blades. That stung Prince George back into action and they developed a 2 on 1 with rookie Nick Poisson scoring on the pass from Min Lee. 5-1 Spruce Kings. His third goal of the tournament.
As with many games at this event, a lopsided shots-on-goal final, this one 44-10.
Man of the match for the Spruce Kings – Anhorn. For the Terriers it was Orca Wiesblatt.
Thursday winds up the round-robin portion with the Blades taking on the Ottawa Junior Senators in the afternoon game (4 p.m. EDT) and in the evening encounter it's the two undefeated clubs, Brooks and Prince George, a rematch of the two teams involved in the Doyle Cup.
The prize? The first-place finisher chooses which semifinal it wants to play in.
Oakville, Brooks, Prince George and Ottawa have qualified for Saturday’s semifinals. The final will be played Sunday at 5 p.m. EDT.
All preliminary round and semifinals are being 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