FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Northeast B.C./Yukon Trackers hammered the visiting Lakeland Panthers on Saturday afternoon.
The Trackers set the tone in the first period as they outplayed the Panthers for the entire game. Owen Floriant scored the lone goal of the opening period with 6:03 remaining, assisted by Cayden Frenette and Noah Lang.
The boys in blue and white opened the floodgates in the middle frame, as Aiden Craig Steele found the net, not even a minute into the middle frame after accepting a pass from Curtis Hammond and Zury Reschke. Frenette scored the 3-0 tally at 2:31 after depositing a rebound from in close while lying on his back, Connor Kindrat with the lone helper. Five minutes later Devan Minard fired a high shot from the slot that found twine off a dish from Chase London and Duncan Ross. Hammond made it 5-0 at 9:06 after Craig-Steele and Nathan Brownlee and himself played keep away with their opposition for 30 thirty seconds. Lang ended the scoring spree with 6:31 to play in the second period as he found space behind the Panthers netminder from a sharp angle after another dominating shift from Hammond and Craig-Steele.
The home side didn’t let their foot off the gas in the final frame as Kindrat blasted a shot from the point that beat a screen Panthers goaltender after taking a slick from Minard and Nick Loewen at 14:26. Five minutes later Lang and Floriant worked a perfect give and go that was finished off by Lang for the 8-0 tally. The line of Hammond, Craig-Steele and Brownlee combined for the final two goals of the contest in the last 10 minutes of play. At the final buzzer, the scoreboard read Trackers 10 – Panthers 0.
Hammond, Craig-Steele and Brownlee contributed a total of 13 points as goaltender Dakota Olson stopped all 15 shots fired in his direction for the shutout.
With the victory, the Trackers hit 20 wins and 44 points for the first time since joining the Northern Alberta Hockey League in 2010.
“It was one of those games where our skill shined through,” said assistant coach Gavin Brandl. “We just outplayed them from start to finish as there was no letdown tonight. I’m so proud of how our team has played this year accomplishing such a feat is awesome, but our work isn’t done yet as we have St. Albert next weekend to conclude the regular season. It will be the biggest game of the year to this point.”
The team sits three points up on the second place Peace River Royals in the Bouchier Division standings as the Royals play the Panthers on Sunday before clashing with the St. Albert Blues next Friday.
The Trackers finish up their regular season on March 3rd when they welcome the Blues to the North Peace Arena. Puck drop is at 2:00 p.m.