Prince George Spruce Kings sure have a swing vote in making their case as one of the top teams in all of Canada.
Among many of their candidates for tournament MVP thus far, Logan Neaton stopped all 13 shots he faced on May 13 in the Spruce Kings’ 4-0 win against the Ottawa Jr. Senators at the 2019 National Junior ‘A’ Championship in Brooks, Alberta.
The 20-year-old’s fourth shutout of the post-season helps improve Prince George to 2-0 at the tournament and are one of two teams with that record; the other being the host-Brooks Bandits.
The offensive play of the designated visitors came alive getting 29 shots on the East Region champions and their netminder Francis Boisvert, including 13 in the second period alone.
Ben Brar (one goal, one assist), Dylan Anhorn (two assists), and Patrick Cozzi (two assists) each had two-point nights.
“Our first game we had a bad start and we wanted to focus on coming out hard and having a really good start,” said Cozzi in a statement after being named the player of the game for the Spruce Kings. “We knew they were going to come out and play physical, so we weathered their storm, played our game and outplayed them.”
Nick Poisson opened up the scoring at the 13:09 mark of the first period on a great pass in front from Chong Mi Lee after taking a lap behind the Jr. Senators net.
The ‘Kings were fortunate to get a man-advantage in the final moment of the opening frame, which allowed Defenceman Nick Bochen to make it 2-0 going into the dressing room.
Ottawa incurred a bench minor at the start of the second after a heated exchange from Head Coach Martin Dagenais towards the referees.
More than 30 seconds into the stanza, Ben Brar potted his second of the tournament to give Prince George a commanding 3-0 lead.
Dustin Manz was put in the box before the eight-minute mark on a double-minor for high-sticking, and after his team killed it off entirely, he earned redemption by scoring the final goal of the contest with 1:36 to go in the frame.
The red, white, and blue cruised to the 4-0 victory with a scoreless, and a rather uneventful, third period, handing Ottawa its first loss in Brooks and their second consecutive loss to a B.C. Junior ‘A’ club since losing to the Chilliwack Chiefs in the semi-finals of last year’s Nationals.
Spruce Kings Head Coach Adam Maglio believes his team is getting better, understanding they simply need to worry about themselves.
“I think we just focused on our own game tonight,” he explained. “I didn’t think our first period yesterday [against Oakville] was where it needed to be and we didn’t defend hard enough. We’re realizing this tournament is more about our game so that was our focus - to defend hard, check hard and the offence will take care of itself.”
After a day off today (May 14), Prince George will be back in action Wednesday night (May 15) against the Portage Terriers.
The West Region champions have yet to win a game at the National Championship thus far (0-2).
Puck drop against Prince George at the Centennial Regional Arena goes for 6 p.m. Pacific time.
.@SpruceKings reign over the beasts from the East 👑 They shutout the @OttawaJrSens 4-0, improving to 2-0 at the @HC_NJAC Tournament in Brooks! Next game is against the @PortageTerriers on Wednesday | #CityOfPG @GoBCHL @PGMatters pic.twitter.com/luPkC4efiu— Kyle Balzer (@KyleBalzer) May 14, 2019