The Fort St. John Huskies had a wake-up call for the Jr. Canucks on the opening night of the preseason.
Playing under a new coach, and in front of their home fans, the Jr. Canucks looked outmatched and disorganized in a 10-0 drubbing on Wednesday night.
Fort St. John rookie Brighton Campbell opened the scoring eight minutes into the game, marking the only goal of the first period.
In the second, the ice started to tilt in Dawson Creek’s direction. The Huskies netted four more goals in the middle frame, including markers from rookies Ryan Stickel and Justin Rattray.
In the third, the Jr. Canucks tried to fight back, but things didn’t improve. The final period saw five fights break out, as well as five more goals from the Huskies.
In the end, it may have been just the message Dawson Creek needed, after a disappointing first-round exit in the 2009 playoffs.
The Jr. Canucks are facing some major turn-over this year, as well as a coaching change, with D.C. native Mike Lazachuk taking over behind the bench.
The Canucks were undoubedly missing a few key pieces of their team, particularly on defence, though Huskies coach Bob Kalb said his team deserves credit. "We have some talented players on this team" Kalb said, after watching his team play keep-away for long periods of time. Cody Kalb and Dylan Apsassin picked up right where they left off, while Kole Norris also enjoyed some playing time with Kalb, and connected well with the big centreman.
Fort St. John scorers:
Kole Norris (2)
Robbie Sidhu (2)
Coach Kalb also seemed impressed with his two rookie goaltenders, who split the shutout. Garrett Muir played well in his Huskies debut, while Ty Gullickson made a couple of sparkling glove saves in his drive to earn the starters job.
The Huskies return home for an exhibition game on Saturday night. The game begins at 8pm at the North Peace Arena. Admission to the game is by donation, with all proceeds going to the Child Development Centre, in honour of Terry Norris and Tom Ward.