It looks like the slump is over.
While the Huskies have managed to stay in the battle for top spot in the NWJHL, they have been struggling over the past couple of weeks.
But, they added to their emotional win in Grande Prairie on Friday night with a blowout of the Slave Lake Wolves on Saturday.
Jordan Hartnell opened the scoring for the Huskies, putting a nice wrist shot past Wolves starter Curtis Malbuef, and into the top corner of the net. Dan Pappin was on the ball to collect the puck – as it turned out it was Hartnell’s first ever goal as a Husky.
Within a few minutes, Kole Norris scored a spinning wrister to put the Huskies up by two. Then Dylan Apsassin fed Dan Pappin in the slot while short handed – Pappin fired a puck into the top corner, knocked off the water bottle, and the route had begun. At that point, Curtis Malbuef was pulled for Niko Perry, but Malbuef would find himself back in the game before the game was half done.
The first period would produce 3 more Husky goals. Cody Kalb scored a nice one, when he made a quick shot into the corner of the net. Kalb’s goal was initially waved off by the referee, but after the next stoppage the goal was awarded, after discussion between the officials.
Steven Fast soon scored his first of the game, when Kole Norris sent him in on a partial shorthanded breakaway. Dustin Heitman also got into the action, when he fired a puck and Niko Perry on which the goalie bobbled the puck and slid right into his own goal. Perry would bounce back, making a couple of good saves off Tyson Pederson during one shift, but he would be pulled in favour of starter Curtis Malbuef at the start of the second period. After just one period, the score was 6-0 Huskies.
In the second, the Huskies continued to pour it on, with Steven Fast shooting on a 2 on 1 situation for his second of the game. Jordan Shipton continued his hot streak when he took a couple of whacks and knocked the second past Malbuef. Soon after, the Fast – Shipton – Norris line scored the prettiest goal of the night on the powerplay, a beautiful tic, tac, toe play, finished by Steven Fast (his third).
Finally, late in the second, with the score 9-0 FSJ, the Wolves got onto the board, with Tyson Price converting a great pass from Thomas Garon, and Shawn Kubel scoring from Price and Michael Loroff, and the second period ended 9-2.
Late in the second, Riley Apsassin attempted to fight Slake Lake’s Kyle Pichette. Pichette did not fight back, and Apassin would be charged 9 minutes in penalties (a fighting major and minors for instigating and being the aggresseo) and a game misconduct. But Fort St. John would kill off the entire powerplay opportunity.
A big hit by Cash Brinkworth on Jamie Wilson which shattered the glass, and a Brian Gilbert fight would be the only action early in the third. It seemed that Dan Pappin had his second of the game, but it would be waved off when the referee determined that Dylan Apssasin had interferred with the goalie.
Steven Fast scored his fourth of the game, when he fired home an outstanding pass from Kole Norris with 4 minutes remaining. Despite the shortness of the Wolves’ bench, they continued to fight for pride, and a late fight between Tyson Pederson and Tyson Price led to another delay, when the officials had to clean up Tyson’s blood from the ice.
FSJ would add two more goals – a Jordan Shipton deflection on a Jon Spence point shot, and a Jason Arnouse one-timer on a Dylan Apsassin pass.
Mercifully, the final horn sounded, and the final score was 12-2 for Fort St. John.
The Wolves had started the game with only 13 skaters, and at the end they had only 9. They were also missing a couple of key players, including Dustin Ghostkeeper, who may not return to the Wolves this year.
The Huskies have now had much better efforts in their last 3-4 games. They have earned a 3 game winning-streak, and their record improves to 9-3.
They have regained first place in the NWJHL, and can look forward to another big weekend ahead, when they play in Sexsmith (Fri. 7th), in Beaverlodge (Sat. 8th), and home to Dawson Creek (Sun. 9th).