Prince George (BCHL, Kyle Balzer) -On the strength of three third-period goals, the Prince George Spruce Kings came from behind to beat the Brooks Bandits 4-2 in Game 6 to win the franchise’s first-ever Doyle Cup.
Andrea Laycock of the Chilliwack Chiefs posted to social media, “At least the Spruce Kings can try to keep the National Championship in BC”. Prince George easily eliminated the Chilliwack Chiefs in the first round of the BCHL playoffs.
Brooks got out to an early lead when Tyler Campbell scored 3:25 into the game, but Lucas Vanroboys replied for the Spruce Kings, picking up a rebound after a Corey Cunningham breakaway and shelfing it to tie things up before the end of the period.
The Bandits retook the lead when Mackenzie Hancock scored his first of the series early in the second to make it 2-1 after two.
Prince George broke out in the third, carrying the play and outshooting their opponents 11-4. Ben Brar tied things up after a beautiful passing play between himself, Dustin Manz and Patrick Cozzi left him with a wide-open net and he made no mistake. Later in the frame, it was Chong Min Lee who took a cross-ice pass from Ben Poisson on a 2-on-1 and deposited the puck into the right side of the net past a sprawling Pierce Charleson in the Brooks crease to give PG the lead with under five minutes to play.
Patrick Cozzi continued his hot play of late by hitting the empty net from inside his own blueline and the celebration was on. As the clock hit zero, the Spruce Kings piled off the bench and mobbed their goaltender Logan Neaton who made 23 saves in the win.
Since the series returned to Prince George for Game 4, Cozzi scored four goals and added one assist in those three games, all Spruce Kings wins. His two-point effort tonight gives him six points in the series to lead the Doyle Cup.
Similar to the Chilliwack Chiefs last year, with Brooks hosting the National Junior A Championship, the Bandits get a berth in the tournament despite the loss.
Both teams will have a week off before the tournament starts next Saturday, May 11 in Brooks.