FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Fort St. John Huskies survived a close one with the Sexsmith Vipers at the North Peace Arena on Saturday night.
Gary Loewen opened the scoring with 14:05 remaining in the first frame after Nolan Legace and Geoff Dick worked the puck along the boards before finding a wide open Loewen in the slot. Two minutes and five seconds later Matthew Apsassin scored on the power play after depositing a rebound off a shot from Jeridyn Loewen along the blueline to make it 2-0. Three minutes after the visitors cut the lead in half 2-1, Geoff Dick beat the Vipers goaltender with a wicked wrister, assisted by Jarod Lang and Sebastian Powsey. Twenty-two seconds later Dick scored his second of the period after accepting a saucer pass on an odd-man rush with Gary Loewen, Jarod Lang with the secondary assist. After one period of play, the Huskies lead by the score of 4-1.
The middle stanza remained scoreless until Dane Bateman riffled one home from the far point with 5:47 to play, assisted by Matthew Apsassin and Cody Brodhagen. The Huskies skated into the second intermission with the only goal of the frame and a 5-1 lead.
The Huskies played on their heels in what was a wild third period. Geoff Dick and Alex Hartman both dropped the gloves midway through the final stanza as tempers boiled over. The Vipers used that momentum and undisciplined play from the home side to score two late goals to make it interesting, ultimately the Huskies escaped with a 5-3 win.
Geoff Dick and Jarod Lang led the team with three points apiece, while Matthew Apsassin and Gary Loewen each chipped in with two-point outings.
“We have a tendency to play down to teams below us in the standings level and that’s exactly what happened in the third period,” said Sebastian Powsey. “It’s been a long week and thankfully that game is over and we came out with the win as the team will use the coming days to recuperate before our next game on Wednesday.”
“We played 35-40 minutes of our style of game then we let them dictate the pace and make things interesting with two goals in the third period,” added assistant coach Todd Alexander. “We have to learn to play a full 60 minutes of hockey game after game no matter who the team is or what their record says.”
The Pups will be looking for redemption on Wednesday when they clash with Dawson Creek at the North Peace Arena, after losing to them less than a week ago. Puck drop is at 8:00 p.m.