FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – After losing a close game against the Sexsmith Vipers in their season opener last weekend, the Fort St. John Huskies are looking to bounce back with a pair of wins in Peace River and Fairview this weekend.
Huskies GM Jeremy Clothier says that with a roster as young as they have, many players were playing in the first game at the Junior level last weekend, and says that nerves played a role in the Vipers gaining a quick 2-0 lead after 20 minutes. Despite this, Clothier says that the team began to settle down and execute their game plan much better in the second and third period, controlling the play for most of the final 30 minutes of the game. Sadly, the Huskies were only able to put one goal on the board, a powerplay tally from Drew Fudger. Clothier added that the arenas in both Sexsmith and Beaverlodge are narrower than others in the NWJHL, which means that the Huskies needed to adjust their playstyle to the more confined space.
This week, the Huskies will be returning to Alberta, and to normal-sized rinks to take on the North Peace Navigators tonight, before facing off against the Fairview Flyers on Saturday. Clothier says that the Flyers, who lost the NWJHL finals to the Navs last year, are in a similar situation to the Huskies this year. Having lost many players from last year, the Flyers are also one of the youngers teams in the league this year, although their top line comprised three 21 year-olds has been effective so far, contributing to all three of the Flyers’ goals in their win over the JDA County Kings last Saturday.
Clothier says that the Huskies will be focusing on puck control this weekend, especially against the Navs, who frequently capitalise on turnovers and sloppy plays. The Huskies will also be looking to build on offence, Clothier adding that they hope to score more than one goal per game this weekend.
Puck drop for the Huskies tonight is at 7:00 p.m. Fort St. John time in Peace River, and at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday in Fairview.