Spruce Kings beat Portage to improve to 3-0

Photo credit: Matthew Murnaghan/Hockey Canada Images

By Jason La Rose, Hockey Canada

BROOKS, Alta. – Dylan Anhorn, Chong Min Lee and Ben Brar scored in the first period, and the Prince George Spruce Kings (BCHL) held the Portage Terriers (MJHL) to 10 shots on goal in a 5-1 win Wednesday night at the 2019 National Junior A Championship.

The victory keeps the Spruce Kings unbeaten and sets up a first-place showdown with the Brooks Bandits in the preliminary-round finale on Thursday night (7 p.m. MT).

Prince George has been a defensive juggernaut; it has given up only two goals in three games, and allowed just 44 shots in wins over Portage, the Oakville Blades (OJHL) and Ottawa Jr. A Senators (CCHL).

Lee finished with a goal and an assist, while Dustin Manz chipped in a pair of helpers.

It took less than a minute for the Spruce Kings take a lead they wouldn’t relinquish; Dylan Anhorn danced his way off the sideboards into the slot before wiring a wrist shot past the blocker of Portage goaltender Nathan Moore just 55 seconds in.

Lee made it 2-0 just shy of the eight-minute mark, going five-hole on Moore with a quick shot from just below the face-off dot, and Brar circled into the slot and went upstairs for the 3-0 goal eight minutes later.

Logan Neaton gave way to Keenan Rancier in the Spruce Kings goal after making three saves in the first period, giving Rancier his first game action since a 4-1 regular-season win over the Chilliwack Chiefs on Feb. 23.

Logan Welsh added to the Prince George lead with the lone goal of the second, knocking in a rebound after a point shot from Max Coyle on a Spruce Kings power play.

The Terriers finally got on the board early in the third period on just their sixth shot of the game; Orca Wiesblatt swept the puck towards the net from his knees, and Braden Billaney jumped on the loose puck to make it 4-1.

Nick Poisson got that back just over four minutes later, chipping a Lee rebound over Moore to finish the scoring.

The Spruce Kings outshot Portage 44-10.

The game was the last of the season for the Terriers, who were eliminated from semifinal contention with a loss to Oakville on Tuesday. Portage will host the national championship next spring.