It was a tough night at the office yesterday for the Fort St. John Huskies. Battling to stay in the middle tier of the NWJHL standings the Huskies dropped a winnable game against the Dawson Creek Junior Canucks 5-4
Fort St. John had a 3-2 lead after one and that score held going into the third period. Early in the final frame things started to fall of the tracks for the Huskies however as the Junior Canucks scored three goals in a 2:11 span to go up 5-3. The Huskies closed to within one with a power play goal with about six and a half minutes to play but were unable to find the tying goal.
Assistant coach Todd Alexander said his team simply took the game for granted and it cost them a valuable two points in the standings.
“When you look at the schedule and you look at points we played down to our opponent. We’re in no position to be looking at the schedule and be assuming that we can beat teams handily based upon their record, especially Dawson. They work hard each and every night and their coaching staff is doing a good job of keeping their team motivated. We just ended up playing a soft game and took a night off,” he said.
The team didn’t impose a physical will in the game which resulted in all of the Junior Canucks goals coming at even strength.
“It was definitely a lack of finishing checks. The execution was okay but when you allow five regular strength goals against a hockey club that’s been struggling to score goals that’s not what you would call hard nosed hockey by any means. It was soft goaltending, it was soft defensive play, it was soft on the forecheck. All Dawson had to do was outwork us and that’s what they did,” Alexander said.
Among the challenges facing the Huskies coaches is how to deal with a hockey team that plays as it did last night, but at the same time has the capability to play as well as they did in Saturday’s win over Sexsmith, prompting Alexander to ponder the possibility of bringing in new players that can execute consistently.
“It’s definitely frustrating when you have a yo-yo of an effort. You get top effort one night and the next night you don’t. I understand that it’s my responsibility to make sure that the guys are ready to go and ready to play but at some point in time you’ve got to rely on your players to be ready as well. The little things that make a team successful, the players have to start buying in at some point in time otherwise you’ve got to make a move and find players that want to buy into the system,” he said.
Scoring for the Huskies were Josh Robinson, Austin Braid, Shawn Wilson, and Anthony Ruggiero.
The next game for Fort St. John comes tomorrow night in Beaverlodge.