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Trackers get win in front of packed North Peace Arena

Connor Bowie scores the game winning goal in the second period. Photo by Tracy Hammond
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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Northeast BC/Yukon Trackers got another game in the win column in front of a packed house at the North Peace Arena this afternoon.

Hundreds of students from North Peace Secondary and other area schools got the afternoon off their last day of school before Christmas holidays to see their fellow students take to the ice against the Edmonton South Side Athletic Club. Both teams looked a bit nervous early in the game, as nearly all of them had never played in front of such a large crowd before. Captain Joel Bourgeois explained after the game that, “It’s just unreal, I’ve never experienced anything like it, and it just gives everybody a lot of energy.”

South Side struck first near the midway mark of the first period with a garbage goal. The Trackers however managed to get a bit of a garbage goal of their own three seconds later. Aiden Craig-Steele put the puck into the back of the net after Cooper Beamish made the initial shot to even the score at one apiece.

In the second period, both teams looked impressive in what would turn out to be an incredibly close game. Just under twelve minutes into the frame, Connor Bowie scored an unassisted goal to get his thirteenth of the season to give the Trackers a 2-1 lead.

In the third period, Craig-Steele then fired in his second of the game on a drop pass from Joel Bourgeois just 28 seconds after the puck dropped. Keenan Halverson got the second assist on the Trackers’ third goal as the initial playmaker. The Trackers looked sharp, but later in the third South Side started to increase their pressure. Brandon Clark made a series of phenomenal saves late in the frame as Edmonton pulled their goaltender for the extra attacker. Despite being shorthanded in a sense, the Trackers managed to shut the door and get the win 3-1.

Head coach David Johnston says that despite the initial nerves of playing in front of such a large crowd, the team put in an excellent effort for the entire game. “That’s two back-to-back weekends, probably our best two sixty minute efforts of the year. Like I said to the guys here post-game, this is a tough time of year to stay focused. It’s a real grind time for elite hockey, with the work that they’ve done up to this point and with the distraction of Christmas a short time away. It’s a really tough time of year to keep your players focused and our kids have just done an exceptional job of staying focused. We were just a real good team today.”

The Trackers are back in action next week for a pair of makeup games against the Whitecourt Wolverines. The Trackers take to the ice next Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., and again at 4:30 Wednesday afternoon. Both games will be streamed live on the Trackers’ Ustream page: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/nebctrackers.

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