Photo courtesy of Damon James

The Prince George Spruce Kings are finding ways to win hockey games.

Wednesday night was no different as 16-year old defenceman Layton Ahac played the hero for the second consecutive game lifting Prince George to a 3-2 win over the Merritt Centennials from the Rolling Mix Concrete Arena.

“It was just a good team win, we stuck to the game plan even though a couple of calls went against us but got the win so we are happy,” says Ahac.

The rookie blue liner is making a strong case early on to be the BCHL Rookie of the Year after collecting nine points in his first 12 Junior A games while also playing on the team’s top defensive pairing with Liam Watson-Brawn.

Ahac’s demeanor on and off the ice has also caught the ice of Spruce Kings Head Coach Adam Maglio.

“He’s unreal. You can see his off-ice maturity just by how he plays the game and at the end of the day he is a high performance kid in all aspects from the way he handles himself, the way he is in the room and on the ice. It’s a big benefit to us to have a kid that age who can play those kind of minutes and contribute the way he does.”

Prince George found themselves behind by a goal until they tied it with six minutes left after Nolan Welsh slid home a Patrick Cozzi feed to tie up the game at 2-2.

However, the turning point in the game may have come in the second period when Prince George goalie Evan DeBrowuer stopped Centennials forward Zach Court on a penalty shot to keep the game at 2-1.

The Spruce Kings improve to 7-3-1-1 on the season and maintain a three-point lead over the Langley Rivermen for a top spot in the Mainland Division.

Prince George will now head on a brief two-game road trip that starts on Friday against the Surrey Eagles before wrapping up the following day against Langley.

Maglio believes the trip could help alleviate some of the flaws in their game.

“I have a lot of concern of where we were turning the puck over on the ice. I think we need a simple game on the road and to just grind it out for 60 minutes.”

Local product Corey Cunningham was the lone player scratched from the lineup for Prince George.

It was also the first game for newly-acquired defenceman Luc Salem who was acquired from the AJHL’s Brooks Bandits on Monday.


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