Welcome to Friday the 13th!

The Prince George Spruce Kings and the Wenatchee Wild have been anything but unlucky as they gear up to play in the BCHL Fred Page Cup Final.

Who would have thought that one year after Wenatchee moved from the Mainland to the Interior Division that they would be facing off against Prince George in the Championship Series?

The two teams met in the opening round last season, with the Wild holding on for a 4-2 series win, after leading three games to none.

In 2016-17, the Wild had 38 more points than the Spruce Kings over 58 games (94 to 56), but in 2017-18, the difference was just five points (79 to 74).

Wenatchee was third in its division this season, but the Wild get home ice advantage over first-place Prince George because of more points.

The Interior was the strongest of the three divisions with Penticton, Vernon and Wenatchee the top three teams in the entire league.

During the regular season, the Wild and Spruce Kings split a pair of games with each team winning on home ice;  Wenatchee 3-2 on November 11th and Prince George 4-3 on December 9th.

On paper, the Wild get the edge because of the extra home game and much more firepower.

Wenatchee scored 241 regular season goals compared to 170 for Prince George.

In the playoffs, the Wild sit with 58 goals in just 15 games while the Spruce Kings have scored 52 times in 19 games.

The one ace in favor of P.G. is in net.

Evan DeBrouwer has been spectacular, just like the regular season.

The 21-year-old DeBrouwer is second in the BCHL playoffs with a 1.96 goals-against-average (GAA).

The six-foot-one, 200-pound native of Blenheim, Ontario also has a splendid 0.925 save-percentage (SV%) with two shutouts.

He is the BCHL Player of the Week with a 0.934 SV% and a GAA of 2.16 in the last three playoff games against Powell River.

Wenatchee is back-stopped by 19-year-old Austin Park, who is giving up half-a-goal a game more than DeBrouwer, with a 2.43 GAA to go along with an 0.899 SV%.

In the regular season, Park only had an 0.887 SV% and a 2.78 GAA.

Both teams play much better in front of their own fans.

In the playoffs, Wenatchee is 8-0 on home ice outscoring the opposition by an average of 5-2, with 40 goals for and just 16 against.

The Spruce Kings are 9-2 at the Rolling Mix Concrete Arena (RMCA) with 36 goals-for (GF) and 14 goals-against (GA).

In the regular season, Prince George had the second best home record (22-5-1-1) behind only, you guessed it, Wenatchee (24-4-1).

Photo Courtesy of the Prince George Spruce Kings & Vicki Brown Photography

On the road, there wasn’t much difference with the Wild putting up 30 points and the Spruce Kings 28 in 29 games.

In the playoffs, Wenatchee has a 4-3 away record while Prince George is 3-5.

There has been a significant turnover in personnel from when the teams met in March of 2017.

Wenatchee has just seven players that competed in that series, while PG also has seven.

The Spruce Kings were the slight favorites in each of their previous three series, winning in seven over both Chilliwack and Surrey and in five over Powell River.

The Wild swept Merritt 4-0, erased a 2-0 deficit to beat Vernon in six (winning the last two in OT) and then eliminated Trail in five.

Both are appearing in their first Championship Series although Prince George has waited 22 years for this opportunity, while Wenatchee is just finishing its third year in the BCHL.

After not meeting in four months, the two rested teams (who have been off a week) will battle four times over the next five nights.

The Spruce Kings, who were given a rousing sendoff on Wednesday when they left the city, can play up the underdog role for the first time in the post-season, perhaps easing the pressure.

In two weeks, one of these teams will play the Alberta champions with the Doyle Cup winners to advance to the RBC Cup National Junior ‘A’ Championship in Chilliwack, May 12th to 20th.

Yes, the Spruce Kings competed in the 2007 RBC Cup and reached the final, but that year they lost in the first round of the playoffs, meaning they only got the opportunity because of an automatic berth as the host team.

This edition of the Spruce Kings is special, because all 12 post-season wins have been earned the old fashioned way, with four of those victories coming when facing elimination.

Last year, Prince George hockey fans witnessed the Prince George Cougars capture their first ever regular season division banner.

In addition, there was hockey in late April when the Cariboo Cougars hosted the Telus Cup national midget championship.

This year the Spruce Kings are carrying the torch, riding high into uncharted territory, creating memories that for some will last a lifetime.

FRED PAGE CUP SCHEDULE:

GAME ONE = Friday, April 13th @ Wenatchee
GAME TWO = Saturday, April 14th @ Wenatchee
GAME THREE = Monday, April 16th @ RMCA
GAME FOUR = Tuesday, April 17th @ RMCA

GAME FIVE = Thursday, April 19th @ Wenatchee (If Necessary)
GAME SIX = Saturday, April 21st @ RMCA (If Necessary)
GAME SEVEN = Monday, April 23rd @ Wenatchee (If Necessary)

 

WATCH:

 

FROM THE QUOTE RACK:

Nashville Predators fan Briley Meeks, angry over a controversial call, mailed two catfish to NHL headquarters in Toronto. Inquiring puck minds are dying to know: So how’d he land the fish — hooking or spearing?

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

 

Mark McGwire says he could have hit 70 home runs without using PEDs. Although instead of in one year he meant for his entire career.

*Comedy writer Jim Barach of WCHS-TV in Charleston, W.Va., http://jokesbyjim.blogspot.ca/

 

Millions of Americans were watching the Masters when it was interrupted by a movie clip from Tin Cup. #SergioGarcia

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

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

With Alberta skip Laura Crocker set to wed curler Geoff Walker, will she be last-rocker Crocker-Walker?

*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.
He also is the 94.3 radio color 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