Can the Prince George Spruce Kings complete the hat trick by winning the national junior A championship in Brooks?

The schedule is right here.

They already won the BCHL title and the Doyle Cup Pacific Regional championship in impressive fashion.

Peaking at the right time, the Spruce Kings are 20-3 in the post-season and 32-4 in their last 36 overall games.

They do have a win in Brooks (2-0 in the Doyle Cup opener) something no AJHL team could accomplish in the regular season.

The Bandits were 30-0 in front of their fans prior to the playoffs.

Confidence, morale and mental sharpness should all be in the Spruce Kings favour heading into the round robin of the five-team tournament, where the top four advance to the semi-finals.

One could make a valid point that beating the AJHL champions four games to two will give Prince George a psychological edge the next time they play the Bandits, even though it will be in Brooks.

“I think that the confidence we gained from beating a very good hockey team like Brooks in a seven-game series is only going to help us. They are definitely the best team we had played in this playoff run and our players really had to dig deep to find a way to overcome Brooks’ speed and skill so that we could be successful. I think winning always gives any team a bit of a psychological advantage,” Spruce Kings general manager Mike Hawes told MYPGNOW.

“That being said, the NJAC is a short tournament and anything can happen. We will prepare for our game versus Brooks just like we would any other game. Our players are smart enough to block out our past successes against them and approach the game like every other game we play,” added Hawes.

With Brooks, the top-ranked team in the country for most of the season after going an eye-popping 57-3, it would seem logical, since Prince George beat them, that the Spruce Kings would be considered the favourite at nationals.

Naturally, Hawes downplays that notion.

“I know that our organization and our players will not consider ourselves as favourites heading into the NJAC. Some media and other people may hang that tag on us but I know it makes no difference whatsoever to our players and staff. It will not change our approach, our thinking, our mindset, our preparation or how we play each game. All we worry about is how we play each and every hockey game, whether some people see as us the favourites or not.”

Representatives of the City of Prince George are finalizing plans to honour the Spruce Kings for the memorable run once their year has come to close.

Do the Spruce Kings need to win the Canadian championship to complete a dream season, regardless of their performance at Nationals?

“The success we have had to this point is unprecedented for our organization, as we all know. It is well known that the BCHL is the best Junior A league in Canada. I have always told myself that winning the BCHL title is the toughest part of the playoff season and that our goal is to win the BCHL championship, anything that comes beyond that is a bonus,” stated Hawes.

However, now that we are in the midst of it all my thinking is “we’ve come this far, we might as well win the whole thing now. The season certainly has been a dream season regardless of our fate at the NJAC, but I’m not ready to wake up from the dream quite yet.”

Winning and having fun go hand-in-hand.

The Spruce Kings have proven convincingly that they are one of the five best junior A teams in Canada.

If they take that next step and strike gold at nationals that could be the time for Hawes and the team’s many long-time supporters to wake up.

Sometimes one has to pinch themselves but dreams do come true.

Enjoy the moment, especially since we don’t know how many years it will be for the next time a Prince George hockey team plays a meaningful game in May.

*

PG SPRUCE KINGS NATIONAL SCHEDULE:

Sunday, May 12th: PG Spruce Kings  vs.  Oakville Blades  (1:00 PT)
Monday, May 13th: PG Spruce Kings  vs.  Ottawa Jr. Senators  (6:00 PT)
Wednesday, May 15th: PG Spruce Kings  vs.  Portage Terriers (6:00 PT)
Thursday, May 16th: PG Spruce Kings  vs.  Brooks Bandits  (6:00 PT)

The tournament semi-finals are Saturday, May 18th at 1:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. PT and the final goes Sunday, May 19th at 2:00 p.m. PT.


FROM THE QUOTE RACK:

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*Comedy writer Jim Barach http://jokesbyjim.blogspot.ca/

Donald Trump tweeted that due to the Kentucky Derby controversy, the best horse did not win the race. Just like how the Electoral College affected the 2016 election.

*Comedy writer Tony Chong of Vancouver, B.C.

Among the thousand dollar mint juleps and such at the Kentucky Derby, they’ve invented a new one for DQ’d Maximum Security—-it’s called the Ben Johnson.

*Contributor Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, California

Derek Jeter is reportedly unhappy with the Miami Marlins’ play and lousy attendance. Gosh, if only he knew someone who could do something about it.

*Comedy writer Janice Hough of Palo Alto, California www.leftcoastsportsbabe.com

I’m not saying the New York Mets are bad, but the only way they are winning the NL East Division is if the Braves, Marlins, Nationals and Phillies all veer outside their lanes.

*Contributor Marc Ragovin of New York

Houston Astros farmhand Seth Beer hit home runs on back-to-back Thirsty Thursday beer discount nights (April 25 and May 2) for the Fayetteville (Ark.) Woodpeckers.   As for fans of beer and Beer, that’s what you call a doubleheader.

*Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times http://www.seattletimes.com/author/dwight-perry/


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Three things UK researchers said after all the freshwater shrimp they tested had cocaine in their systems:  
3. Blow me down;
2. That’s snow biz;
1. Anyone for a shrimp coke-tail?

*Canadian comedy writer RJ Currie www.Sportsdeke.com

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Hartley Miller is the sports director and morning news anchor for 94.3 the GOAT and Country 97.
He also is the 94.3 radio colour commentator for P.G. Cougars home games.
His column appears Fridays on myprincegeorgenow.com.
Send along a quote, note, or anecdote to hmiller@thegoatrocks.ca.
Follow him on Twitter: @Hartley_Miller
Listen to him on his podcast: Hartley’s Cat Scan.