Friday’s overtime loss must have not sat well with Fort St. John, who came out of the gate flying and set the tone early for the Sunday afternoon tilt. The good start translated into some productive plays, as the Huskies built themselves a 3-0 lead in the opening period.
Fort St. John scored their first goal only 1:18 into the game, as Tyler Norris popped in a rebound, created by a Robbie Sidhu wrist shot. It only took Fort St. John just over two minutes to double that lead, as defenseman Jordan Gies took the puck end-to-end on a nice rush, displaying his smooth skating skills as he weaved his way around Wolves’ players and buried the puck with a low shot.
Two became three on the scoreboard 12:46 into the first, as the Huskies executed a perfect power-play, with the line of Houle, Bell and Karasiuk producing offensively again, moving the puck nicely to set up a Karasiuk one-timer in the slot, beating Wolves goaltender Curtis Malbeuf for the power-play marker, wrapping up the first leading 3-0.
The second period began with the Wolves making a goalie switch, which seemed to spark the visiting team, as a totally opposite period than the first ensued.
Slave Lake scored three goals in a span of three minutes in the second, tying the score at 3-3 as the momentum seemed to shift from the home to the away team.
However, the Huskies showed their resiliency, and with 22 seconds remaining, Robbie Sidhu entered the Wolves zone carrying the puck two-on-one, electing to shoot, squeaking the puck past the Slave Lake keeper to retake a 4-3 lead.
With Fort St. John starting the third period with a man-advantage, the team would pad their lead with a power-play marker just 1:04 into the final period. Thanks to some solid puck movement, resulting in the Wolves losing their defensive positioning, Jordan Gies was able to make a nice, cross-ice pass to Sidhu, who wasted no time firing the puck on net, scoring his second of the afternoon and providing the Huskies a 5-3 lead.
It was another solid outing on the ice for the Huskies leading goal scorer, as Sidhu finished the game with four points (2 goals, 2 assists).
With Fort St. John leading 5-3, the Huskies seemed to improve that lead as Tyler Norris banged in another rebound on what should have been his second of the night. However, a high-sticking major from Fort St. John negated that goal, and put the Wolves on a five-minute power-play, where they scored to make a 5-4 game.
Luckily, the Huskies remained un-phased by the goal, and responded with some offense of their own, as Blair Karasiuk scored his second of the day on the power-play, with 1:51 remaining in the game, securing the Huskies their first victory of the weekend.
Credit must be given to Huskies goaltender Travis McLean, who despite a rough second period for Fort. St. John, remained calm and focused in net, making countless timely saves to keep his team in contention throughout the afternoon game. McLean finished a solid afternoon in net with 30 saves.
Following the game, head coach Gary Alexander talked about how important it was to score the go ahead goal following the Wolves tying it up at 3-3.
“It’s very important. Lately we have been just folding up our tent and going home and letting them take the win away from us. They (the players) need to prove to themselves that when they pay attention to how we are telling them to play their positions and focus on mental games they can win a game by regaining their focus and staying with the program.”
Alexander added that it was an “awesome” win for his club’s morale.
With the game-tying goal under his belt, Sidhu says it was a significant victory from a player’s perspective.
“It’s what we need. We lose the first game then lose the second game in over-time, you really want to win that game on Sunday and get a three-point weekend. We played a solid 60 minutes and earned that one.
Sidhu also talked about retaking the 4-3 lead saying he felt the team got their legs back after scoring their fourth goal.
The Huskies will have a four day rest, and then will hop on their bus Friday, November 2, travelling to Fairview for an away game against the Flyers. The team won’t have much time to recover, as the following day they will welcome the league’s top team, the Grande Prairie JDA Kings to Fort St. John.