On Saturday evening, the Junior B team hosted the Grande Prairie JDA Kings in their home and regular season opener, which unfortunately produced less than ideal results. The Huskies were out shot 33 to 18, eventually leading to a final score of 5-3 in favour of the JDA Kings.
Game one of the 2011-2012 season not only displayed a new looking roster, but a new looking team, as the Huskies unveiled brand new jerseys at the start of the game, with number 8, Cody Hildreband, sporting the Captain “C”.
The game began as one would expect the first period of a season to go, somewhat sloppy, which appeared like the players were trying to get a feel for one another. Although, it would be the Huskies who would strike first, scoring their first goal of the season while on the man advantage.
It would only be appropriate that Robbie Sidhu, last year’s Huskies leader in points, would get the dogs on the board first. Only 2:14 into the opening frame and on the power play, the Huskies displayed some nice pick movement around the offensive zone, with Sidhu burying a nice cross crease pass from John Wayne Howes.
Eight minutes later, the JDA Kings would find themselves on the man advantage, something that both teams became familiar with as the penalty filled affair progressed. JDA Kings’ Daniel Bishop received the puck along the half boards, walked into the slot and beat Huskies tender, Ty Gullickson low blocker for the 1-1 equalizer.
After tying the game up, the remainder of the first belonged to Grande Prairie, who sustained heavy pressure in the Huskies zone for a solid five minute period. Luckily, Gullickson was up to the challenge and the team was able to exit the first period tied at ones.
Both teams would find the back of the net in the second. Grande Prairie opened the scoring in the period, as JDA Kings’ Justin Hoisington would tip in a point shot for the 2-1 lead. The goal seemed to fire up the hometown Huskies, who answered right back 31 seconds later. Jaxon Glass skated into the JDA King’s zone carrying the puck, firing a shot on net off the rush, evening the score at 2’s.
The second period continued with an exciting back and forth pace, which the JDA Kings got the best of, scoring another goal for the 3-2 lead after two.
The third frame began with the JDA Kings scoring yet again with the man advantage, putting the Huskies down two goals only 2:24 into the third. The Pups would answer back with a goal by Robbie Sidhu, his second of the game, but only after the Kings scored their fifth goal, for a final score of 5-3.
After the game, the Huskies new Head Coach Gary Alexander discussed his thoughts on the game, saying he’s not too concerned about the first couple game of the season. He said the team and the coaching staff are still getting to know each other, and he will use these opportunities to learn the tendencies of his team.
First year Huskies member Tyrell Fenton also discussed his feelings on his first taste of NWJHL Junior B hockey. Fenton said it took him a little while to get used to the size and pace of the game, but felt more comfortable as the game went on, using the nervous energy to his advantage.
The inability to generate shots on a consistent basis, plus 50 minutes of penalties didn’t help the Huskies cause in their season opener. The Huskies will look for redemption on Saturday, Oct. 1 when they travel to Grande Prairie to take on the JDA Kings at the Coca-Cola Centre.
The Pups are back on home ice on Friday, Oct 7, when they welcome the Sexsmith Vipers to Fort St. John.