SEXSMITH, A.B. — The Fort St. John Huskies are sitting pretty with a 1-0 lead in their best of five first round playoff series against the Sexsmith Vipers.
It was a scoreless first period, as both teams seemed to be feeling each other out after a drama-filled final regular season meeting between the two teams. The Vipers’ Joel Demarke was assessed a Match penalty in the third period of Sunday’s game, after delivering a two-handed slash to the face of Fort St. John’s Brad Dixon. The Huskies doubled up the Vipers in shots on net in the first, 18-9.
Jacob Lang got the Huskies on the board first last night, scoring just over five minutes into the second, assisted by Matthew Apsassin and Gary Loewen. That goal seemed to give Sexsmith an offensive spark, and they went on the attack, peppering Jonathan Bateman with 18 shots over the 20 minutes of the frame. The Vipers tied things up at 1 just under two minutes after Lang’s goal. A scrum in front of the Fort St. John net just over a minute later saw Aiden Tegart and Sebastian Powsey both get Game Misconducts along with two Sexsmith players. The Vipers would add another to take a brief lead in the final five minutes, before they took a pair of late penalties. Lang evened things up with the man advantage for his second of the game, assisted by Apsassin and his brother Jarod. Sexsmith outshot the Pups 18-13 in the second.
Brandon Howard wasted no time in the third to regain Fort St. John’s lead, scoring just eleven seconds in, on a pass from Zak Bayko. Less than a minute later, the Vipers again answered back to tie things up at three apiece. It was a stalemate for the rest of the period, with both teams behaving. Fort St. John again outshot Sexsmith in the third, 13-8.
It only took 44 seconds of overtime for the Huskies to make some magic happen. Playing up from the Trackers, Jeridyn Loewen fed a pass to Geoff Dick, who put it past Tyler Boe to give the Pups a 4-3 overtime victory.
The Huskies are back on home ice for two games this weekend. The North Peace Arena will be hosting playoff Junior hockey action on Saturday night at 8:00, and on Sunday afternoon at 1:00.