FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Fort St. John Huskies began last night’s game against the Fairview Flyers in the driver’s seat with their feet glued to the floor, but let off the accelerator before again pinning the throttle last night.
It was all Huskies in the first period, as they peppered Flyers netminder Kenton White with shots. Jacob Lang fed Drew Fudger, whose shot two seconds shy of the seven minute mark found the back of the net and gave the Pups a 1-0 lead. The stalemate continued for the rest of the frame, as the Flyers began to test Huskies goalie Jonathan Bateman.
Things got a bit rough early in the second frame. Forechecking in the Flyers’ end, Brandon Howard made a high hit on one of the Flyers defensemen along the boards, then another solid body check in the high slot. A scrum broke out, and Lou Turnbull-Giesbrecht dropped the gloves with Fairview’s Spencer Bjorklund to a draw in the corner. In the resulting four minute penalty kill, Bateman made a series of spectacular saves, but the Flyers finally got a goal with a rebound during a mad scramble to tie the game. Though Fairview were assessed another three penalties in the second, the Huskies’ power play couldn’t put the pucks on net. Fairview outshot Fort St. John 12-6 in period number two, after being outshot 16-7 in the first.
In the third period, the Huskies started to control the play once again. Neither team managed to break double digits in shots on net, with the shots going 8-6 in favour of Fort St. John. Despite some late rushes by the Pups, the third period ended in a deadlock.
The Flyers ended up only needing 16 seconds of overtime to decide the game. Fort St. John won the draw, and the Dogs nearly got a chance. Sadly, a turnover and a stretch pass from Matt Lueken to Ben Moffatt resulted in a two-on-one ini the Huskies’ end. Moffatt passed the puck to Liam Yasinski, who put it past Bateman high glove side to give Fairview the win.
Huskies head coach Gary Alexander says that not playing hard for a full sixty minutes cost the Huskies the extra point. “We came out in the first period like wanted to, and then backed off in the second,” said Alexander. “We kind of fought back in the third. Fairview boys came on pretty hard in the second , and we just gave up that little flip to the blue line there. Lost coverage on the man, and that’s all it takes in a three-on-three. We played pretty much two periods we played two periods of pretty hard hockey, and then we let them come out of the house, and they went out with the two points again. We’ve kind of struggled all winter with putting three periods together. When we do, we’re pretty hard to beat, but if we don’t you end up on the bottom part of the stick, and that’s the way it should be.”
The Huskies are back in action on Saturday night for a game in Sexsmith against the Vipers tonight. Alexander says that the Dogs will be refocusing on bringing their intense physical game for the full sixty minutes. “It’s gonna be a physical game, it always is in Sexsmith. They’ve been pretty par, nobody’s really beat them up, and they’re competitive as hell.”
Huskies defenceman Aiden Tegart says that the smaller ice surface in Sexsmith can result in a more physical game. “In that arena you can get caught pinching and taking hits, but for the most part if you can connect its usually a bigger hit.”
The puck drops in Sexsmith tonight at 8:00. The game will be streamed on the Huskies’ Ustream page, with play-by-play from Troy Viens: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/huskies-hockey.