FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Fort St. John Huskies’ playoff situation is looking a lot better this morning after a huge pair of wins against the Grande Prairie County JDA Kings over the weekend.
The two rivals faced each other on Friday and Saturday night in a home-and-home series that started at the North Peace Arena.
The Huskies looked sluggish out of the gate on Friday night, as Grande Prairie started the match with some big hits, culminating with a goal just 1:17 into the first period. The Huskies seemed to settle in and find their stride near the halfway mark, and after 20 minutes were matching the Kings’ physical play.
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Going into the second period with a 1-0 deficit, Gary Loewen tied things up for Fort St. John in the second half of the second period, assisted by brothers Jarod and Jacob Lang. After matching their opponents 14-14 for shots in the first, the Huskies outshot Grande Prairie 17-7 in the second frame.
In the third, the Kings would capitalize after Brandon Howard took a two minute minor for tripping, scoring with the man advantage in the first four minutes of the frame. Gary Loewen scored his second of the game six minutes later to once again even the score, assisted by Jacob Lang and Aiden Tegart. Jonathan Bateman stopped 13 of 14 shots by the Kings in the third period, as the Kings again seemed to come back. In wasn’t to be though, as the two teams went to overtime.
The Kings weren’t able to get a single shot on net in the extra act, and after getting three shots on netminder Dalyn Hair, Thomas Webster sealed the deal for Fort St. John, scoring the game winning goal 3:08 in, assisted by Jared Loewen.
Saturday night’s contest played out much the same, though the Huskies didn’t need an extra five minutes.
Playing in Clairmont on Saturday, the Kings got out to a 2-0 lead early in the first period, scoring twice in the first minute of play. Adam Bowie scored on the power play near the halfway mark on a feed from Geoff Dick, and Huskies weren’t done yet. Outshooting Grande Prairie 13-4 in the first, Jacob Lang tied the game with just over 2 minutes left in the first, assisted by Bowie and Gary Loewen. 30 seconds later, Geoff Dick took a pass from Aiden Tegart to put the Huskies up 3-2.
In the second period, Matthew Apsassin added some insurance for Fort St. John on the power play, assisted by brothers Jacob and Jarod Lang. Things got a bit more exciting as Shawn Wilson and the Kings’ Joel Wamsteeker dropped the gloves. Grande Prairie seemed to get a bit fired up, but were still outshot 16-10 in the second frame.
In the third, it was all Huskies once again. Outshooting Grande Prairie 13-6, Jacob Lang scored his second of the game assisted by Tegart just over five minutes in. Lang then completed a hat-trick in the closing minutes to help the Huskies to a 6-2.
With the two wins, Fort St. John has leapfrogged both the Kings and the Dawson Creek Junior Canucks to 3rd in the NWJHL standings. The Huskies are back on the ice on Friday night, when they host the Fairview Flyers. Puck drops at the North Peace Arena at 8:30 p.m.