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PHOTOS: Fin-tastic finish for Prince George Spruce Kings as they take 2-0 BCHL Finals lead

A 15-year-old rookie plays hero in Game Two win over Vernon Vipers
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The most unlikely of heroes showed up at the right time Saturday night (April 13) in Prince George.

Finlay “Fin” Williams scored his first ever B.C. Hockey League (BCHL) goal in Game Two of the Fred Page Cup Finals that turned out to be the eventual contest-winner for the Spruce Kings, prevailing to a 4-1 victory over the Vipers, and taking a 2-0 championship series lead.

The North Vancouver product was over the moon when he lit the lamp at the 3:46 mark of the second period, even getting a big bear hug from his billet brother and teammate Max Coyle.

“Hopefully there’s more to come, but it was a really good feeling getting that first goal out of the way,” said the 15-year-old rookie, who joined the Spruce Kings at the beginning of the Coastal Conference Finals against Victoria. “It’s amazing to learn off of the older guys in this room and the coaches too. To be a part of this run they’ve got going on right now, it’s such a cool feeling. I’m really grateful to be here now, learn some key things, and I’m really excited to be here next year as well.”

Williams played the puck in front perfectly of Vernon netminder Aidan Porter and said he didn’t want to waste an opportunity to score a goal in front of a sold-out Rolling Mix Concrete Arena (RMCA).

“I thought I was going to be offside, but [Nicholas] Wilson got a good shot initially and I saw it just sitting there and I wanted to just get it off as quick. The play was set up nicely and, like I said, hopefully more will come in this barn too.”

His marker lifted the Spruce Kings to a 2-0 lead on the Vipers in the middle frame; Prince George’s first goal came with three minutes left in the first period, thanks to Ben Brar.

The Vipers would get one back at 10:19 of the second to cut the lead in half and rob goaltender Logan Neaton of another possible Fred Page Cup shutout.

With 69 seconds left in that frame, defenceman Nick Bochen fired a one-timer while on a two-man advantage to extend the home team’s lead to 3-1 after 40 minutes of play.

Brar would seal the Spruce Kings’ 4-1 victory with an empty-net goal for his second of the night.

“It was definitely a full team effort tonight,” said the 20-year-old veteran. “It was nice for my line [Dustin Manz and Patrick Cozzi] to finally have success; we’ve been working hard, a couple of bounces went our way, and the puck ended up in the back of the net for us.”

Neaton stopped 27 of 28 shots for his 14th win of the 2018-19 playoffs in 15 starts, while Porter made 23 saves on 26 shots at the other end of the rink.

The win also extends Prince George’s home-winning streak to 17 games, including all nine post-season tilts.

The Spruce Kings are just two wins away from hoisting their first Fred Page Cup in franchise history and they could do so while on the road as the best-of-seven Finals series now shifts to Kal Tire Place in Vernon.

Games Three and Four set for Tuesday (April 16) and Wednesday (April 17); both have 7 p.m. puck-drops.

If the Vipers win one of those games, Game Five would come back to the RMCA on Friday (April 19).

Prince George will be boarding the bus and leaving the RMCA on Monday (April 15) at Noon and the public is invited to help send them off with lots of support.




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Kyle  Balzer

About the Author: Kyle Balzer

Kyle Balzer graduated with distinction from BCIT's Broadcast & Online Journalism program in 2016. Since moving to Prince George, he has covered a variety of stories from education & Indigenous relations, to community interests & sports.
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