Spruce Kings hold on for series-clinching victory

By Jesse McGowan
March 7, 2019 - 10:25pm Updated: March 8, 2019 - 8:35pm

The Coquitlam Express had their backs against the wall in game five of the first-round BCHL Playoff series Thursday night. They trailed in the series 3-1 and though they'd won game four on their home ice by a score of 3-0, they were going to have to snap the Spruce Kings 10-game home winning streak. Two late goals would make it close, but overall the task was too tall for the third-seeded Mainland Division team.

The Kings came out with visions of a week off if they were to win game five. That may have motivated them early as it took just nine minutes for the hosts to put one up on their scoreboard. Breaking out of their own zone, Chong Min Lee came burning into the zone so fast that he blew a tire and lost the puck. The forward wasted no time rushing behind the net where he'd emerge with the puck seconds later. A quick pass in front to Captain Ben Poisson and it was 1-0.

The Kings would add another before the first was up. Local forward Corey Cunningham tipped a shot off the stick of Nolan Welsh and the team had doubled their lead. 

B. Poisson would add another just 1:23 into the second, again from Lee, to make it 3-0.

The third period saw a Ben Brar tip-in for a fourth goal, more than a few dust-ups between the two teams, and two goals by the Express at the 8:44 mark and again with just under six minutes left. The Kings may have relaxed on defence, but the second goal woke them up. They'd negate the rest of the Express rushes and walk away victorious 4-2.

Poisson and Lee would finish as first and second stars after both of the captain's goals were assisted exclusively by Lee.

The Kings now advance to the Mainland Championship series, but they don't know who they'll play yet. After losing the first three games, the Chilliwack Chiefs have won two in a row against the Langley Rivermen, including a 2-1 win on Thursday. Game six goes Friday at 7:15 in Langley. Should the Chiefs win, game seven will be played in Chilliwack on Sunday at 7pm.

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