The results to date are clear, the Brooks Bandits and the Prince George Spruce Kings, not necessarily in that order, are the two best Jr. A hockey teams in the country.

Both have to win a semifinal game Saturday at the Nationals in Brooks to secure a berth in Sunday’s championship game.

While Brooks and P.G. are favoured to advance, both have to be careful of the upset because now it’s not a series or a round-robin, it’s a win and win or a Canadian title will slip through the fingers.

The BCHL and Doyle Cup champions won each of their first three games by a four-goal margin, outscoring the Oakville Blades, Ottawa Jr. Senators and Portage Terriers by a combined 14-2 margin.

Prince George lost 3-1 to Brooks Thursday (last goal into an empty net) in a game that arguably meant more to the Bandits since they were still reeling after losing to the Spruce Kings 4-2 in the Doyle Cup.

Including the P.G. game, the Bandits outscored their opponent 17-8 to finish as the top seed at 4-0.

The semifinals have Brooks against 1-3 Ottawa Saturday at 1:00 PM Pacific followed by Prince George against 2-2 Oakville at 6:00.

Before we automatically think the Bandits will manhandle the Senators, they only beat Ottawa 2-1 Tuesday in a game that had no scoring after the first period.

The Spruce Kings will be confident against the Blades after trouncing Oakville 5-1 Sunday.

Do keep in mind the Blades played that game in the afternoon the day after playing a night game against Brooks.

It was the first game for Prince George so one might believe the Spruce Kings had a schedule advantage going into that game.

History has shown that going 4-0 or 3-1 doesn’t assure a berth in the final.

Just last year at the RBC nationals in Chilliwack, the Wenatchee Wild put up a 4-0 record, including a 7-1 victory over the Wellington Dukes.

The Wild lost to those same Dukes 2-1 in the semi despite outshooting Wellington 51-14.

The Dukes went on to lose the final to the host Chilliwack Chiefs 4-2.

The moral of the story is to be careful especially from a hot goalie.

Speaking of sizzling goalies, Logan Neaton has clearing been the top stopper in the tournament posting an eye-popping 0.91 goals-against-average and a whopping 0.955 save percentage while allowing just three goals in four games.

If the Spruce Kings are to bring home a national title, Neaton will play a prominent role.

This year’s nationals have been without overtime.

Law of averages would suggest that could very well change this weekend.

If there is OT, don’t expect that game to match the excitement that took place 12 years ago in Prince George, the last time the Spruce Kings played in Nationals.

Many of us in attendance at CN Centre will never forget the Spruce Kings 3-2 semifinal victory in 2007 over the Camrose Kodiaks in five overtimes.

The game which lasted six hours and ended just after 1:00 AM ended up being the longest game in Royal Bank Cup history at 146 minutes and 1 second.

Jason Yuel scored the winner while Jordan White stopped 91 of 93 shots for the victory.

This weekend should have a dramatic moment of its own.

Every player wants to score a winner on the biggest stage.

Who will that be in Brooks?

Prince George has several players that are capable of fulfilling that hockey role of hero.

The Spruce Kings have risen to the occasion numerous times this season.

It’s in their hands now to get those two more wins to complete the ultimate dream season.

 

FROM THE QUOTE RACK:

The Buffalo Bills have come up with a new tailgate plan to deal with unruly fans. Apparently, anyone getting too out of control will be threatened with being given season tickets.

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

Derek Jeter is having the English speaking Marlins players take Spanish lessons as a way to connect with their teammates and the Miami community.   Their first lesson: “Nosotros stink”

*Contributor Marc Ragovin of New York

John Daly has arthritis in his knee and got approval to use a cart in the PGA Championship. Will the cart come with a designated driver?

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

John Daly has been given a cart to play in the PGA Championship because of a bad knee. No, a golf cart, silly — not a beverage cart.

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

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

A Lexington, KY, store is selling $200 jars of manure produced by 1997 Derby winner Silver Charm. So, it’s not just Kentucky basketball players that are one-and-dung.

*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.