FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Northeast B.C./Yukon Trackers collected three out of a possible four points in Whitecourt over the weekend.
The Trackers never trailed in Saturday afternoon’s affair as Curtis Hammond opened the scoring a minute into the first period on the powerplay to give the visitors a lead they would not relinquish, assisted by Aiden Craig-Steele and Noah Lang. The Trackers skated into the first intermission up 1-0.
In the middle stanza, Craig-Steele found twine 2:42 into the frame after finishing off a feed from Nick Loewen and Hammond. Owen Floriant made it 3-0, two and half minutes later as he put the biscuit in the basket after a nifty passing sequence between Zury Reschke, Craig-Steele and Floriant.
The boys in blue and white scored their fourth and final goal of the contest midway through the final frame when Logan Kimmie deposited a loose puck off a rebound from Craig-Steele and Duncan Ross. At the final buzzer, the score read Trackers 4 – Wolverines 0.
Craig-Steele was in on every goal as he finished with a goal and three helpers while Hammond chipped in with two points. Goaltender Tyler MacArthur turned aside all 21 shots that were fired his way for the team’s first shutout of the season.
“In Saturday’s win we played a solid minute hockey game,” said head coach Gerard Dicaire. “Our penalty kill was very solid and we had some timely kills. It was our first shutout of the regular season and well deserved the way our team played defensively.”
Sunday’s contest was a different story for the Trackers as they managed to battle back from a three-goal deficit to salvage a point.
After a scoreless first period of play, the Trackers found themselves down 3-0 after the Wolverines scored a trifecta of goals within a six-minute span. However, the team didn’t falter and scored two quick powerplay goals of their own. The first was courtesy Nathan Brownlee at the 12:21 mark, assisted by Noah Lang and Devan Minard. The second tally was off the stick of John Herrington two minutes later as Minard dished a slick pass to him as well. After forty minutes of play, the team was down 3-2.
In the final frame the home side doubled their lead to 4-2 with an early tally, but once again the boys in blue and white trim, battled back as Craig-Steele bulged twine at 15:11 off a pass from Nick Loewen. Then four minutes and thirty seconds later, Minard buried a loose puck from in close on the man advantage to tie the game at fours, Ross and Herrington with helpers. Neither team was able to score the go-ahead tally as the teams settled for a 4-4 tie.
Minard finished the game with three points, while John Herrington contributed a goal and an assist.
“Sunday’s game was more of a learning lesson on adversity. Understanding that we can control within the game. Three of the four goals came on the powerplay, but we also gave up two powerplay goals. Whitecourt got some lucky bounces and we thought our boys battled hard coming back from 3-0 and 4-2 deficits to tie the game. We took three of the four available points on the road and will get back to work this week at practice to get ready for Lakeland this coming Saturday at home.”
With the three points, the Trackers improved their record to 19-7-4 and hold a one-point lead on the Peace River Royals for first place in the Boucher Division standings. Both teams have two games remaining.
Next up for the team is a date with the Lakeland Panthers at the North Peace Arena on Saturday. Puck drop is at 11:00 a.m.