Staring elimination in the face, the Huskies headed to Peace River on Thursday night, looking to steal a win back, after a disappointing overtime loss on home ice in game five.
Showing the intensity proportionate to the situation, and some urgency that may have been lacking on Wednesday night, the pups had a slow first few minutes, but soon turned on the jets. 9 minutes into the game, Cody Kalb broke open the scoring, when he banged a Jordan Walters rebound past Bretton Stewart. Just 40 seconds later, Steven Fast converted a two-on-one with Kole Norris, and the Huskies were awake.
Kole Norris would wrap up the first period scoring, when he fired a shot past a sliding Adam Boytinck and past Stewart, to give the pups a 3-0 lead after one.
Just seven seconds into the second period, Gerry Young took a long shot on Zack Blain, with the rebound coming right to Kyle Richardson who buried it, to give the Navigators just the start they needed. Nine minutes in, Robbie Sidhu fired a weak shot that found its way past Bretton Stewart, to regain FSJ’s three goal lead. And, with two minutes left in the second, Gerry Young found his way back onto the score sheet, when the Huskies failed to clear their zone on a penalty kill, leading to a nice behind-the-back pass from Selleck Bunn to Young, who cut the lead to 2 goals.
Two minutes into the third, Cody Kalb scored his second of the game, and 11th of the playoffs, when he banged home another rebound, again restoring a three goal lead, and seemingly putting the Navs away.
While Peace River would get two more chances on the powerplay, including a double minor to Jesse Disher, the penalty kill stood tall, allowing very few chances and penetration from Peace, and relying on some solid goaltending from Zack Blain as well. With the exception of Gerry Young’s second period goal, the Fort St. John penalty kill played strong all night, killing five of six opportunities, compared to just three for the Huskies.
One of the three Husky powerplays came in the final two minutes of the game, allowing the team to simply play keep-away, and run down the clock, for a 5-2 win.
Coach Bob Kalb was certainly happy with the solid effort from his team on the night, which he says brought the compete-level needed for an elimination game.
While Robbie Sidhu scored his third goal as a Husky, it may have been Jordan Walters who stole the callup spotlight. Walters started the game on a defensive pairing with Payden Wongstedt, and played in every situation, clearly instilling confidence in the coach.
Walters seemed to enjoy his game, and didn’t look at all out of place in his first game of junior hockey. "It was awesome playing with Payden, he’s a good hockey player, and made everything easy" he said.
Click here to listen to a highlights package from game six:
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And so, the stage is now set for a game seven showdown. But, there’s no rest for the weary, as it goes on Friday night. The game will be the fifth in six days for both teams, with the winner heading to Whitecourt for game one of the finals on Saturday.
Fan support for the Huskies so far this playoffs has been struggling, and the team will definitely be looking for an energy boost from their faithful, as they try to once again fight off elimination, and win one more game, to advance to the league finals.
Game seven goes Friday night at 8pm, at the North Peace Arena.