Overtime magic from the Captain!
Ben Poisson potted the game-winning goal with less than two minutes left in the extra frame to win Game Four by a score of 3-2 and help the Prince George Spruce Kings sweep the Victoria Grizzlies in the Coastal Conference Championship series 4-0 for a second straight berth in the B.C. Hockey League (BCHL) Fred Page Cup Final.
This is the second straight playoff series sweep for Prince George after knocking out the reigning National-champion Chilliwack Chiefs in four games in the Mainland Division Finals.
It also marks the second season in a row a Prince George captain has scored the goal to send the Spruce Kings into the BCHL Finals; Kyle Johnson did so in 2018 in Game Five of the Conference Final against Powell River.
The overtime-marker is Poisson’s team-leading 10th goal of the playoffs, taking a shot from just beyond the hash-marks that went under the arm of Victoria netminder Kurtis Chapman.
It also marked a completed comeback after being down 2-1 going into the final frame of play Tuesday night (April 2) at the Q-Centre.
After a scoreless first period, the Spruce Kings got on the board first 72 seconds into the next courtesy of Liam Watson-Brawn on a pass from Chong Min Lee.
The Grizzlies came clawing back with two goals in under five minutes (13:44, 18:29), both on the power-play by potential first-round NHL Draft pick Alex Newhook, before the end of the second stanza.
Both teams went back-and-forth to begin the final 20 minutes of regulation time, but defenceman Layton Ahac tied up the contest on a man-advantage just before the midway mark.
Prince George was able to hold on to the tie until the final horn that sent Game Four to overtime.
The steady offense of the Spruce Kings kept them in play during the extra stanza until Poisson found the back of the cage to claim Prince George’s second Coastal Conference banner in as many years.
BREAKING: @SpruceKings advance to 2nd straight BCHL Fred Page Cup Finals after sweeping the @BCHLGrizzlies 4-0 in the Coastal Conference Finals 👑 | #CityOfPG @GoBCHL @PGMatters pic.twitter.com/GvLaqnl1iG— Kyle Balzer (@KyleBalzer) April 3, 2019
Goaltender Logan Neaton made 34 saves on 36 shots from the Grizzlies, while Chapman faced more than 40 shots from the red, white, and blue for a third time in the series.
The Spruce Kings only allowed two goals in each game against Victoria in the Coastal Finals, winning by scores of 4-2 in the first three tilts.
Prince George has won 12 of its 13 playoff games this year, five of them on the road.
Regardless of their next opponent, they will have home ice advantage in the Fred Page Cup Finals as they are the highest ranked team remaining in the playoffs, finishing second in the 2018-19 BCHL regular season.
Now, Prince George will get another long break as they await the winner of the Interior Conference Championship.
The Vipers host the Wild in their home barn once again on Wednesday (April 3) for Game Four with a 7 p.m. puck-drop.
The Vernon Vipers have a breakout offensive performance in game three, and the Prince George Spruce Kings are on their way to the Fred Page Cup final once again.— BC Hockey League (@GoBCHL) April 3, 2019
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