FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Fort St. John Huskies had more than just the Grande Prairie County JDA Kings to contend with at the North Peace Arena on Friday night.
The game got off to a late start after the JDA Kings were delayed by roughly 45 minutes due to an accident between Dawson Creek and Grande Prairie. With the warm-up beginning shortly after 8:00, the two teams finally started play closer to 8:45.
Though the Huskies’ game looked a touch rough in the opening minutes of their first game in nearly three weeks, they were far more composed than their opponents, who looked downright rusty. The Huskies opened the scoring just 2:38 into the first. Jacob Lang got the opening goal assisted by Thomas Webster. After the Kings took the first penalty of the game, Lou Turnbull-Giesbrecht skated the puck into the Kings zone, flipping the puck over a pair of Grande Prairie defensemen. After taking an odd bounce, the puck ended up behind netminder Liam Murphy to give the Huskies a 2-0 lead. The Huskies outshot the Kings 18-4 in the first period.
In the second frame, the two teams seemed to be more evenly matched as Grande Prairie seemed to find their stride. Geoff Dick gave the Huskies a 3-0 lead from the right high slot just 1:16 into the second, assisted by Adam Bowie and Drew Fudger. Grande Prairie had an answer five minutes later, finally putting the puck past Jonathan Bateman. With just over five minutes left in the frame, Thomas Webster took a pass from David Smith and skated the puck deep into the Kings end. Skating behind the net, Webster found Gary Loewen out front of the net, who tapped it in to restore the Huskies’ three-goal lead. The Kings, however scored again just 19 seconds later to make it 4-2 for Fort St. John.
After a late Kings penalty, the North Peace Arena erupted into confusion as the fire alarm sounded with just over two minutes on the clock. The game stopped as the fans evacuated to the adjacent Leisure Pool. The arena’s lobby and dressing room areas were filled with the acrid smell of burning plastic, but after fire crews searched the entire building, no possible source of what tripped the alarm was able to be found. The ice was flooded after the fire department gave the all-clear, with the teams playing the final minutes of the second.
With 9.3 seconds on the clock, the fire alarm again sounded, causing many to be worried that the game would be cancelled. No source of the alarm was able to be found, and fire crews gave the all-clear once again.
In the third, Adam Bowie gave the Huskies another three goal lead just past the halfway mark, assisted by Turnbull-Giesbrecht. The Kings managed to put a third goal past Bateman with 1:21 remaining. After pulling the goalteander for the extra attacker, Bateman made a series of phenomenal saves to shut the door and help the Huskies start 2017 with a win.
The Huskies are back in action tonight, when they head to the Dawson Creek Memorial Arena to play their rivals, the Junior Canucks. Puck drop is scheduled to take place at 8:00 p.m.