The Huskies had another lacklustre effort in Dawson Creek on Friday night, and it cost them.
Despite the short bus ride, and old rivalry, the Huskies looked outmatched in the first period, and seemed unable to contain the speed of the Jr. Canucks. Compounding the problems was Ryan Stickel, who was unable to play because of a back injury, leaving the team with only four regular defencemen (Wongstedt, Linden Apsassin, Langdon, Pederson).
The Jr. Canucks opened the scoring, when a Tyson Keen point shot bounced up in the air off goaltender Ty Gullickson, and ended up in the back of the net. Brandon Juell got credit for the powerplay goal, which seemed to further spark Dawson Creek, and further discourage Fort St. John.
In the span of 41 seconds, the Jr. Canucks scored two more goals, one on a hard shot from Evan Weaver, and one from Justin McLeod. “I think we just came out flat footed, and the boys didn’t show too much energy” said Husky Colby Ames after the game. Assistant coach Jeremy Clothier agreed, saying “we came out flat. We weren’t very good tonight, we haven’t been good for the last month.”
Early in the second period, the Huskies defence took another blow, when Captain Payden Wongstedt fought Lorne Weaver. The loss of Wongstedt further depleted the Huskies blue-line, but did seem to spark the team. A couple of minutes later, a determined shift from Kole Norris saw him hit the post, and then get denied by D.C. goalie Cody Garnett. But, Norris stuck with it, and eventually slid a nice pass to Cody Hildebrand, who beat Garnett, to get the Huskies on the board. But, though FSJ continued to press, the Jr. Canucks restored the 3-goal lead, when John-Wayne Howes’ two-on-one effort was saved by Gullickson, but the rebound was easily converted by Reid Smith.
Five minutes into the third period, Cody Hildebrand scored his second of the game, when he fired a Cam MacKinnon rebound past Garnett. The Huskies were within two, but despite three chances on the powerplay late in the game, they couldn’t get to Garnett. In the final two minutes, Dan Pappin thought he had fired a bullet past Garnett, but the whistle had gone, and a bench-minor had been served to the Huskies coaching staff. Dawson Creek killed the remainder of the game on the powerplay, and clinched a 4-2 win.
In the dying minutes, two fights broke out, with Kyle Porter facing Lewis Weaver, and Colby Ames tangling with Kale Helgeson. “The guy asked me to go, and I looked at him, and thought he was getting a penalty, but it turned out he wasn’t, so I accepted him on the challenge, and it proceeded from there.”
After Ryan Stickel had been unable to play, Kyle Porter jumped back to play defence, and after Wongstedt’s fight, Ames also joined the defensive corps. “I used to play defence until second year midget, and then I got put forward, and just rolled with it from there.” Goaltender Ty Gullickson had been impressed with Ames and Porter’s effort, though he was disappointed with his team’s overall performance. “They both stepped up good, which was nice” Gullickson said, who admitted the loss of Payden Wongstedt hurt his team’s comeback chances.
After the game, Assistant Coach Jeremy Clothier articulated his frustration with the way things have been going lately for the Huskies. “It just doesn’t seem like we have commitment from everybody, they don’t buy into working hard.” Asked how to better motivate the team, Clothier said “If I knew the answer, it would be done.”
The Huskies are back in action on Saturday night, as they visit Beaverlodge to take on the Blades. “It had better be a better effort tomorrow night” Clothier said.