The Prince George Spruce Kings capped off a dominant playoff run with a 3-1 victory over the Vernon Vipers in Game 4 of the league finals to complete the series sweep and win the franchise’s first ever Fred Page Cup championship.
Nolan Welsh tipped in a slick pass from Layton Ahac on the power play for the only goal of the first period to give Prince George the 1-0 lead at intermission. Early in the second and again on the power play, the hottest player in the playoffs, Ben Poisson, padded the Spruce Kings lead with a one-time blast that went bar-down to make it 2-0.
Vernon pushed hard in the third and cut the lead to one on a Teddy Wooding roof-job with 7:18 to play, setting up a dramatic finish. With his team leading by one late in the third, Logan Neaton gave up a rebound to Vipers forward Jesse Lansdell, but the Spruce Kings goalie was able to kick out his left pad to rob Lansdell of the chance and preserve the lead. Prince George’s Patrick Cozzi buried an empty-netter in the final minute and the Spruce Kings were able to run out the clock and hold on for the 3-1 win.
Poisson’s goal was his second game-winning goal in as many nights as he scored the overtime winner in Game 3. It was also his 13th of the playoffs which means he finishes the postseason with the most in the league.
Neaton made 18 saves in the win and ends the playoffs with a league-best .940 save percentage and a 1.46 goals-against average.
Prince George went 16-1 in the postseason which is the best run to the championship since the playoffs switched to the current four-round format.
Next up for the Spruce Kings is a date with the AJHL-champion Brooks Bandits in the Doyle Cup. With Brooks hosting this year’s National Junior A Championship, both teams are guaranteed entry into the year-end tournament.