It didn’t take long for Liam Watson-Brawn and the Prince George Spruce Kings to get into the playoff spirit.

The 19-year-old defenceman set the tone physically on Friday during a 3-1 victory over the Coquitlam Express in Game 1 of the Mainland Division best-of-seven semifinals in front of 1,267 fans at the Rolling Mix Concrete Arena.

Watson-Brawn is a member of what is considered to be best blueline in the BCHL heading into the post-season, stifling Coquitlam’s high-flying offensive attack to just 22 shots, making life easy for goaltender Logan Neaton.

“We shut it down in the third, we just tried to keep it simple and get the puck out of our end so they couldn’t do anything with it. We played aggressively and limited their chances.”

“We have one of the top d-cores in the league and that really helps and we have a really great goalie. If we just give the puck to our forwards they can score and we have confidence we can keep the puck out of our net and protect the lead.”

Ben Poisson got the crowd on its feet just 3:45 into the first period capitalizing on a Lucas Vanroboys feed to make it 1-0 past Express netminder Clay Stevenson.

Coquitlam evened the score 45 seconds into the middle frame as Connor Gregga beat Neaton on the power-play.

The deadlock lasted less than five minutes though as Layton Ahac ripped home a point shot, top-shelf to out the Spruce Kings back on top for good.

Prince George was 23-6-0-0 at the RMCA during the regular season and Watson-Brawn believes his team has a distinct advantage when they step onto home ice.

“I think we have the best fans in the league. That really helps our play and is a hard environment for the other team to come out and have success so, it’s a big key for us.”

Dustin Manz potted his first of the post-season into an empty net to salt away the victory.

Game Two goes tonight at 7pm from the RMCA.

The Spruce Kings got a little surprise on the out-of-town scoreboard on Friday as the Langley Rivermen defeated the Chilliwack Chiefs 5-4 to take a 1-0 series lead in the other Mainland Division semi-final series.

The winner of that will face off against either Prince George or Coquitlam in round two.