DAWSON CREEK, B.C. – It certainly wasn’t the prettiest of games but at the end of the day the Fort St. John Huskies got the job done Wednesday night in Dawson Creek. The Huskies found themselves down 3-0 in the later stages of the second period but the team turned it around from there and eventually got the two points in the standings after a shootout win.
The first period was sloppy on both sides but it was the Junior Canucks holding a 1-0 lead despite being outshot 14-5.
Dawson Creek took a 2-0 lead on the power play in the middle frame and they increased their lead to three when Jeremy Cronier cashed in on a breakaway, his second goal of the tilt.
After the third marker the Huskies immediately called timeout and it was all Fort St. John down the stretch. The Huskies scored twice in the final 6:40 to pull to within one, and nearly tied the game with seconds left in the stanza but had a goal waived off because of goalie interference.
With the game hanging in the balance it looked as though Dawson Creek may be able to hang on despite being severely outplayed but a pass from behind the goal by Jordan Harder found Cayle Bell at the top of the crease for a tap in goal to knot the game up late in the third.
Overtime solved nothing and in the shootout Bell came up big again as he was the lone goal scorer helping Fort St. John prevail.
Undoubtedly the turning point of the contest was the timeout called by the Huskies late in the second, but as assistant coach Todd Alexander explained he didn’t say a word during the stoppage.
“To be honest I didn’t say anything. Our captain [Kody Disher] did all of the talking during the timeout and then he went out and followed it up. When you’ve got a guy like that to lead the way your club tends to follow. For him to step up like that, and that line got all of the goals tonight so obviously he took the team on his back tonight and paved the way,” he said.
The Huskies top line of Disher, Harder, and Bell combined for five of the seven points registered in the point column in the game.
He credited the line and the rest of his team with continuing to push on when frustration was starting to mount in not having and positive results to show for a big edge in the shots.
“They were just tenacious tonight. They just kept working through it and sometimes it’s hard to get going. We had a lot of shots all three periods. We held them under ten each period and we were over ten for all three periods. Sometimes it gets frustrating that way when you feel you should have more goals,” Alexander said.
The win moves the Huskies into sole possession of third place in the NWJHL standings, one point ahead of the County of Grande Prairie JDA Kings, though the Kings do have a game in hand.
“We started January nine points back and here we are one point up. That’s a testament to the hockey club. We’ve been grinding away. We’ve been sticking to our game. We’ve been doing things our own way and worrying about ourselves. We’ve got three games left. They’re all important. It doesn’t matter who we’re playing. We’re just going to have to go and take care of business one game at a time,” Alexander said.
Scoring for the Huskies were Kody Disher, and Cayle Bell (2).
Final shots were 48-25 in favour of Fort St. John.
Next for the team is a game Saturday night at home against the Beaverlodge Blades at 8 p.m. The Huskies will conclude their regular season the following weekend also at home with a double dip against the North Peace Navigators.