Before the puck even dropped in Fairview, the Huskies were at a bit if a disadvantage, as two of their forwards were serving suspensions from the previous game against Slave Lake. The team’s leading scorer Robbie Sidhu was one of those players, the other, the speedy Jamie Watson.
The game began with the Huskies not making things easy on themselves, as Taylor Greatrex took a cross-checking penalty just one minute into the game. While his team was successfully killing that penalty, Greatrex must have been thinking of a way to repay his team mates. As he exited the penalty box, he received the puck and took it against two Flyer defenders. Greatrex fired a hard wrist shot on net, beating Brody Hill high glove for the 1-0 Fort St. John lead.
One turned to two, as Cayle Bell and Dylan Houle, playing on the top line Friday, worked some good cycling down low in the offensive zone, as Bell received the puck alone in the slot, snapping a shot quickly to beat Hill, providing the Huskies a 2-0 lead.
However, the two-goal lead wouldn’t last, as within the final minute of the first, Khalin Marsolais worked hard to get the puck off a Huskies defender, snapping a shot high glove over starting goaltender Travis McLean, concluding the period with a 2-1 Huskies lead.
It was one crazy second period in Fairview. The Huskies would go on to score two more goals in the second, with Cayle Bell scoring his second of the evening, while Fairview also found their scoring touch, scoring four goals, to conclude the second period with the home team now leading 5-4.
It was also a bad period for the Huskies roster, specifically in the center ice position, as Fort St. John’s top two centermen, Blair Karasiuk and recent roster addition Owen Barker were both tossed from the game in separate for checking-from-behind incidences.
Prior to the game, Huskies head coach Gary Alexander, spoke of what his team needs to do in the absence of some of their more offensively gifted players.
“Well the other guys just have to do their part and that’s the reason why we haven’t been winning, I don’t think we’ve all been contributing. Maybe without Robbie in the line-up, the other players will pick up their part and step it up a little bit. It may be what we need.”
Well, the team just have heard that comment, because that was exactly what took place in the third. With the team down 5-4 and time winding down, it was the Huskies that would stage a late comeback, coming off the stick of big John Apsassin. Late in the third, Apsassin ripped a slap shot off a bouncing puck, sending a knuckler of a shot on net, beating Hill for his first goal of the season and tying the game up at 5-5.
The third period did include a scary moment for Fort St. John, as Cayle Bell took a hard hit into the boards and remained laying on the ice for a significant amount of time. Upon being helped to the bench, Bell was favouring his left ankle, putting absolutely no pressure on it.
Enter Overtime, and despite being short handed, the Huskies were able to escape the five minute extra frame, which led to the team’s first shootout of the season.
The Huskies outscored the Flyers 2-1 in the shootout, with Shawn Holliday and Dylan Houle scoring in the win, and Travis McLean making the final save of the game, as Fort St. John finally returned the favour, coming back in the third period to secure a victory, something they have been on the receiving end of all month long.
The win was a big one for the team, not only did it snap a four game overall losing streak, it also snapped a snapped a five game losing streak to the Flyers (including pre-season), and capped off a disappointing November on a winning note.
Morale was at an all time high as the team bus departed from Fairview, and the Huskies can now sit back and enjoy this weekend win, as they don’t play until next week, when they have themselves a busy three days.
They resume playing this Thursday, when Fort St. John welcomes the Sexsmith Vipers to town, then hit the road Saturday, for a back-to-back showdown in Slave Lake, both Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon.
Also a reminder that tomorrow is the Huskies Fill the Bus Campaign, where the team journeys across the city in search of non-perishable food items to donate to the Salvation Army during the holiday season.
Donations can be dropped off at the North Peace Arena starting at 11 a.m., but if you don’t feel like leaving your home, the Huskies will be hitting the streets of Fort St. John, going door-to-door in hopes of acquiring as many donations as possible.