Nine days of rest paid off for the Prince George Spruce Kings Friday night (March 29).
The red, white, and blue came through before 2,067 fans at the Rolling Mix Concrete Arena (RMCA), including scoring two goals in 11 seconds, to take Game One of the B.C. Hockey League (BCHL) Coastal Conference Championship by a score of 4-2 against Victoria.
With the victory, Prince George has won its 14th consecutive home game dating back to regular season play on Jan. 11; they’ve won all six playoff games in their castle thus far.
Goaltender Logan Neaton got his ninth win of the post-season, stopping 25 of 27 shots from the Grizzlies, while Kurtis Chapman allowed four goals on 40 shots on the other side of the rink.
The visitors had trouble to stay with the fast-paced offense of the Spruce Kings right from the beginning, being outshot 19-7 during the first 20 minutes of play.
With 49 seconds remaining in the opening frame, Dylan Anhorn’s shot from the point got through to the cage, lighting the lamp a third time in the 2018-19 playoffs.
Patrick Cozzi and Corey Cunningham were credited with the assists, their first each of what ended in a two-point night for both players.
Cozzi took advantage of a sleeping Grizzly goaltender to give Prince George a quick 2-0 lead just 10 seconds into the second period.
The Victoria Grizzlies are stunned as the @SpruceKings open the second period with two goals 11 seconds apart only 21 seconds into the middle frame, then add another one.— BC Hockey League (@GoBCHL) March 30, 2019
It's suddenly 4-0 😱 #BCHLPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/i7RsbTnkdl
That was two goals for the Spruce Kings in less than a dozen ticks on the clock in the 21-second middle frame mark.
Victoria surged back on offense, if only for a few minutes, eventually outshooting the home team 12-11 in the period.
Prince George product Corey Cunningham would retaliate with a goal of his own and increase the lead to 4-0.
The Grizzlies responded three minutes afterwards to get on the board 4-1 at the literal halfway point of Game One (10:00) and preventing Neaton from getting a shutout.
More than four minutes later is when the bears cut the lead in half at 4-2 and that would end up as the final after a scoreless third period.
The Spruce Kings take an early 1-0 lead in the Round Three series with Victoria.
Game Two goes for tonight (March 30), 7 p.m. from the RMCA, with less than 100 tickets remaining as of yesterday evening.
The Interior Conference Finals between the Vernon Vipers and Wenatchee Wild start tonight south of the border.
The third round of the Chevrolet #BCHLPlayoffs started with a bang, as the @SpruceKings edged the Victoria Grizzlies 4-2 to take a 1-0 series lead.— BC Hockey League (@GoBCHL) March 30, 2019
Get caught up on all the action with #BCHLin60! pic.twitter.com/IMEvsEDC5F