The Slave Lake Wolves gave everything they had in their double OT game-two win. Or at least, it sure seemed like it in game 3.
The Huskies dismantled the Wolves on Friday night, spending the vast majority of the game in the offensive zone, cycling the puck with ease, and making five-on-five play look at times like a powerplay. Cody Kalb opened the scoring, when Payden Wongstedt stickhandled into the offensive zone, at feed Kalb at the side of the net.
Cody fanned on his first attempt, but stayed on the puck as he drifted past the net, and slid it underneath Travis Chartier. 30 seconds later, Dustin Heitman made it 2-0, when he converted a breakaway with a beautiful move to the backhand. Slave Lake would try to get back in it, when a Colter Tkach point shot hit Cash Brinkworth in front, and eluded Zack Blain. But, it would be the only offence for the Wolves, on an otherwise long night. Linden Apsassin rounded out the first period scoring, taking his time on the blue line, and then firing a wrister through traffic and past Chartier.
The second period would be all FSJ. Kyle Porter made it 4-1, when he blocked a shot, barreled down the right wing, took a backhander, and then buried the rebound. Kole Norris, back in the lineup after missing the first two games, got on the scoresheet when he banged home a bouncing puck. Norris’ goal would mean the hook for Chartier, who was replaced by Curtis Malbuef. Malbuef’s stay in goal would be brief. 9 seconds after replacing Chartier, he let in the first shot he faced – a backhander from Jordan Hartnell. It was Hartnell’s second goal ever as a Husky, and gave the fourth line a goal each in the game. 2 minutes later, Kole Norris converted another loose puck, sending Malbuef to the bench, and Chartier back into the game.
Cody Hildebrand would round out the second period scoring, finishing off a nice cycling shift when he slid home a Kole Norris centring pass. Luke McInerney opened the scoring in the third, when he flew down the left-hand side, and fired a snap-shot through Chartier.
Soon after, Wolf Nick Plourde, who had been agitating Cody Kalb all game, finally got his fight, but got a little more than he could handle. Kalb won a decision in the fight, bringing more cheers from the fans, but resulting in the ejection of not just Kalb, but also Payden Wongstedt, for not staying at the bench during the fight. Cody Hildebrand’s second of the game finished off the scoring, with 4 minutes remaining. When the dust settled, the final score was 10-1 FSJ.
The Huskies got goals from 8 different players, and got all but three skaters on the scoresheet (even Zack Blain had an assist). Fort St. John also clicked on special teams, scoring on 4 of 6 powerplay chances, and killing 6 of 7 Slave Lake advantages. S.L. goaltender Travis Chartier, who had been impenitrable in game two’s overtime, and solid overall in the first two games, looked shakey all game long, but also faced quality scoring chances all night, something the Wolves had limited so well in Slave Lake.
After the game, Dustin Heitman, who took a high-stick, and had swollen lip and cheek to go with his goal, said he wasn’t too worried about things getting out hand in game four. "Not really, unless there’s a score like there was tonight," he said. "Most of the guys in this league are pretty good – [they have] a lot of respect." Listen to a post-game interview with Jon Zacks and Huskies coach Bob Kalb. [asset|aid=1027|format=mp3player|formatter=asset_bonus|title=8561d8db333df5b3fd1a72cc950b3a3f-bob-SL3_1_Pub.mp3]
And so, the teams will face off for game four on Saturday night (8pm) at the NPA. The Wolves will need to refocus and find their game, or they’ll be facing the long bus ride home without getting a chance at a decisive game five.
* Those in attendance at game four are also invited to submit their votes for their favourite and most exciting Husky awards.