Trackers split weekend with divisional rivals

The weekend at home began Saturday afternoon at the North Peace Arena, where the Trackers hosted their division leaders, the Peace River Royals. The home town Trackers got behind the eight ball in the first, as the Royals scored the only two goals of the opening period.

After a scoreless second, the Royals extended their lead to 3-0 five minutes into the final period. However, the Trackers responded, scoring their first and only goal of the game 12 minutes into the third, courtesy of affiliate player Wesley Shipton.

Unfortunately, that was the last of the Trackers' offence, as the Peace Royals scored once more to conclude Saturday’s game by a score of 4-1, a result that snapped an impressive six-game winning streak for the Trackers.

Sunday was a different story, as the team hosted the Grande Prairie Sherpa Safety Storm in Dawson Creek, handing their divisional rivals a 4-2 defeat.

In their second game in as many days, it was the Trackers who got the offensive ball rolling first, as Ricky Bateman scored on the power-play, providing the Trackers a 1-0 lead 4:55 into the first.

However, before the conclusion of the first, Grande Prairie evened the scoreboard at 1-1, scoring a power-play goal of their own with under five minutes left in the opening frame.

The second period was where the Trackers inflicted the majority of the damage, scoring the only two goals of the frame. At the 11:45 marker of the second, Mark Readman scored on the power-play, providing his team their second lead of the game, 2-1.

Readman wasn’t done there, as the forward scored his second goal of the period, this one of the short-handed variety, with roughly seven minutes remaining in the second.

With the Trackers leading 3-1 entering their final period of play of the weekend, each team found the back of the net once in the third. Four minutes in, Charles Dagostin scored for the home town Trackers, extending their lead to 4-1. Grande Prairie responded quickly, answering back with a goal of their own just 30 seconds later, but weren’t able to stage a complete comeback, as the Trackers pulled out the 4-2 final.

Following Saturday’s loss, goalie Michael Chute responded Sunday in the victory, making 22 saves to split the weekend.

With the single victory, the Trackers inched their way closer to the North Black Division’s second place Grande Prairie, who now only lead the Trackers by four points in the standings for the second place ranking.

The Trackers now have a little break from hockey, then it’s another busy weekend on the road, as the team sets off for three straight road games starting Friday, January 25, when they play the PAC Spruce Grove Saints. Saturday, January 26 they will be in St. Albert to take on the Crusaders, followed by a game in Slave Lake versus the Thunder on Sunday, January 27.