FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Fort St. John Huskies will be headed to Peace River on Saturday night after forcing Game 7 in the NWJHL semi-finals against the defending champion North Peace Navigators.
The Huskies came out strong on Thursday night, peppering North Peace netminder Trevor Withers with shots in the first. Just over nine minutes in, Shawn Wilson got the Huskies on the board after picking off a pass and walking in to score unassisted. Forty nine seconds later after a mad scramble in front of the Huskies’ net, the Navs scored a garbage goal to tie things back up at one apiece. The Huskies however, kept up their attack. Four and a half minutes later, Wilson scored his second of the game on a feed across the slot from Brandon Howard. Dane Bateman tallied the second assist to restore the Huskies’ one goal lead. Seventy seconds later, the Huskies were again in the attacking zone. Playing up from the Northeast BC/Yukon Trackers, Joel Bourgeois fed Geoff Dick a saucer pass from the high slot down to the corner. Dick fired a wide-angle shot on net, and Josh Robinson pick up the loose rebound to add an insurance marker for the Pups. Shots on goal in the first were 20-11 in favour of Fort St. John.
In the second, things started to get a bit rough early on. Howard was tossed for fighting along with the Navs’ Luke Bellerose just over three minutes into frame number two. Continuing their onslaught, Jacob Lang brought the puck into the Navs’ end four minutes after the tilt near the North Peace bench. Lang passed to Matthew Apsassin low down in the slot. Though Apsassin’s shot was stopped, Gary Loewen picked up the rebound to increase Fort St. John’s lead to 4-1. Fort St. John went on to outshoot North Peace 21-6 in the second, and despite another fighting major for the Navs’ Austin Ward, the Huskies were unable to add another.
Things got quiet in the third, and though the Huskies offence slowed, their defence took care of the rest as Jonathan Bateman stopped 27 of 28 shots in the Pups’ 4-1 victory.
Game 7 of the NWJHL semi-finals will go down on Saturday at the Baytex Energy Centre in Peace River. Puck drop is 8:30 p.m., and the game can be streamed live on the Huskies’ Ustream page.