Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.
That saying could resonate with the four over-agers on the Prince George Spruce Kings after they were eliminated from the 2020 BC Hockey League (BCHL) playoffs last night (March 3).
The reigning champions got swept by the Trail Smoke Eaters 4-0 after dropping Game Four by a score of 3-1 at the Rolling Mix Concrete Arena (RMCA) in front of more than 860 fans who witnessed the last game of the season.
It also marked the final contest for the Junior ‘A’ careers of Jett Alexander, Nolan Welsh, Preston Brodziak and Prince George product Jarin Sutton.
Welsh was the only graduating player part of last year’s storybook run to the National Final.
Alexander, the 2019 CJHL Goaltender of the Year, didn’t start in Tuesday’s tilt, but played the final 77 seconds after Trail sealed the victory with an empty-net goal.
The loss was especially emotional for Spruce Kings’ Jett Alexander, who only played the last 1:17 of Game 4 🥅 A season after winning CJHL Goaltender of the Year, he ends his Jr. A career with 135 league & 24 playoff games on his resume | #CityOfPG pic.twitter.com/bRjJHKCmd8— Kyle Balzer (@KyleBalzer) March 4, 2020
Carter Woodside is credited with the loss in making 28 saves on 30 shots from the Smoke Eaters.
Prince George broke the ice first with 2:18 left in the first period with a power-play goal from Corey Cunningham, the sixth of his playoff career.
The 1-0 lead came also off passes from Welsh and Fin Williams, and stood the same through the intermission and most of the next stanza.
The Smokies tied it up with a power-play goal of their own with 4:59 left in the second, then grabbed the 2-1 advantage within the first two minutes of the final frame while on a delayed penalty call.
The 3-1 empty-net goal with 1:17 left, then played keep-away from the Spruce Kings until the final buzzer of the 2019-20 season.
.@SpruceKings swept out of the 2020 BCHL playoffs by Trail, losing Game 4 by a score of 3-1 on home ice 🏒 Prince George led for a 17:19 span before the Smoke Eaters began its comeback late in the 2nd period at the RMCA | #CityOfPG @GoBCHL @PGMatters pic.twitter.com/YHClpw2plF— Kyle Balzer (@KyleBalzer) March 4, 2020
Prince George’s league record of 18-32-3-5 (44 points) goes on record as the sixth-worst season since joining the BCHL in 1996, a whole 40 points less than their winningest season last year at 39-18-1-5.