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PHOTOS: Prince George Spruce Kings advance to next round of BCHL playoffs

Game Five victory seals 4-1 opening series win over Coquitlam Express

Series clinched!

The Prince George Spruce Kings are moving on in the 2018-19 B.C. Hockey League (BCHL) playoffs after defeating Coquitlam in the first-round, 4-1 in the series, Thursday night (March 7) on home ice.

They doubled the Express 4-2 in Game Five at the Rolling Mix Concrete Arena (RMCA) before more than 1,200 screaming fans.

With the victory, Prince George advances to the BCHL Mainland Division Finals.

However, the 'Kings will need to wait for the winner of the Langley/Chilliwack series, which stands at 3-2 in favour of the Rivermen.

The reigning National-champion Chiefs won 2-1 tonight to keep their playoff hopes alive.

In B.C.’s northern capital, the Spruce Kings started strong and carried their momentum for almost a full 60 minutes.

Captain Ben Poisson recorded two goals, potting the first of the Game Five contest 10 minutes in, as well as the series-clinching marker in the second.

Prince George product Corey Cunningham contributed to the victory by scoring his first career BCHL playoff goal with 65 seconds left in the opening frame.

The ‘Kings enjoyed that 2-0 lead and 3-0 lead after Poisson lit his other lamp 83 seconds into the middle stanza, and a tip-in from Ben Brar, his second of the playoffs, would give the home team a comfortable 4-0 lead with 15 minutes left to play.

Coquitlam didn’t go down without a fight, providing a physical presence in the final period in hopes of a comeback that would bring them back home.

The Express scored two goals less than five minutes apart (8:44, 14:19) to cut the deficit in half, but the ‘Kings would hold on thanks to the efforts of goaltender Logan Neaton.

The 19-year-old made his fifth consecutive start and stopped 24 of 26 shots.

Coquitlam’s Clay Stevenson had to stand on top of his head at times while making 34 saves on 38 shots.

Chong Min Lee of Prince George was the only other player to have a multi-point night, nabbing two assists, both on Poisson’s goals.

The Spruce Kings’ schedule for the next round of the playoffs is to be determined at this point.

The Langley Rivermen will look to end their series with Chilliwack tomorrow (March 8) with a 7:15 p.m. puck-drop.

If Langley wins, Prince George would have home-ice advantage and the first two games would be at the RMCA.

If Chilliwack completes the four-game comeback, they would host the first two games and the Spruce Kings would come home for Games Three, Four, and Six (if necessary) in that series.