The Huskies had to work for it, but dug out of a hole, and won a wild one on Friday night.
Playing in the tight confines of the Beaverlodge Arena, the Huskies took an early lead, on a Dylan Apsassin goal just 20 seconds in. Aaron Dumas scored with Beaverlodge on a two man advantage 6 minutes later, before Robbie Sidhu regained the Huskies lead with 3 minutes remaining in the first.
The second period was when the drama really began. It started with a Nick Fitzpatrick marker seven minutes in. 15 minutes into the second, Cody Anderson added a controversial goal, when Huskies starter Ty Gullickson was knocked down. Anderson slid the puck into the net from the side boards, and after a brief discussion, the officials decided the goal would stand, despite protests from the Huskies bench.
The Huskies were reeling, and the Blades capitalized. Tyrell Jones soon added another Beaverlodge goal to make it 4-2, on another scramble in front. The Huskies added a greasy goal of their own, when Jesse Disher knocked in a loose puck on a goal-mouth pile-up. But before the period was out, Damien Kappo again beat Gullickson, to make it 5-3 Blades after 40 minutes.
The game was still within reach, but the Huskies were behind, and to make matters worse, Ty Gullickson was unable to continue, diagnosed with a minor concussion on the Cody Anderson goal. Payden Wongstedt was also lost for the night, after he blocked a shot with the outside of his foot, and left the game. The second period had seen a number of wild scrambles and dogpiles in both creases. “That’s the game in Beaverlodge” said coach Bob Kalb after the game, referring to the small ice rink, and game plan of the Blades. “They play a scrambly game.” Kalb says his team is a puck possession and speed team, but on this night, they were able to adjust, and fight back in the third.
The final period didn’t start well, with Taylor Jones beating Garrett Muir short-side just 1:20 in. It was the first shot Muir had faced, but he seldom saw the puck for the remainder of the period, as the Huskies began to pressure the Blades, and fight their way back in.
Brighton Campbell got the ball rolling, when he finished off a passing play that saw the puck move from Darcy Bell to Dylan Apsassin to Cody Kalb to Campbell in a matter of seconds. Campbell beat Beaverlodge goaltender Brett Hommy with a snap-shot to the top corner. “I’d had a few shots before that, and kept hitting their goalie in the chest,” Campbell said afterwards. “I pictured my Grandpa telling me to go to the top corner … so I thought about it, shot it, and it got through,” he said.
Cam MacKinnon got the Huskies within one with six minutes remaining, and less than two minutes later, Campbell scored his second, when he knocked rebound past Brett Hommy while being knocked down in front, and the Huskies had tied the game. And finally, with less then 90 seconds remaining, Cam MacKinnon’s second of the game gave the Huskies the lead.
The Blades seemed defeated, and after losing the lead, were unable to muster any offence, and the Huskies escaped with a 7-6 win.
Brighton Campbell earned player of the game honours, while Cam MacKinnon also scored two third period goals, including the winner. Also impressive in the third was Darcy Bell, playing his first regular game for the Huskies. Bell assisted on all four third period goals, and on a night where the small ice surface seemed clogged all night, found room to make some key breakout passes that allowed the Huskies to attack the goal. “He’s really calm with the puck, and he sees the ice really well” said coach Kalb said of Bell after the game. Kalb also spoke highly of Campbell – who is playing for the Huskies at just 17 years old. “Brighton has impressed me since the first week of training camp” Kalb said, suggesting the rookie could move on to play Junior ‘A’ hockey.
After a mediocre performance from his team last weekend, Kalb was also much happier with his team’s effort on the night. “Even when we were down, it wasn’t because we were playing terribly” he said, adding “it was a good character win for us.”
Click here to listen to a highlights package from Friday’s game: [asset|aid=1946|format=mp3player|formatter=asset_bonus|title=f451c4f6f864c97bfebc4b1786339cab-Huskies win 7-6 over Beaverlodge Blades_1_Pub.mp3]
The Huskies will hope to keep their momentum going when they play in Grande Prairie on Saturday night. The game starts at 8:30 (7:30 PST), and will be broadcast live on MooseFM.