Whitecourt's Broken Heart

By Jon Zacks
 
The Huskies put the perfect cap on their regular season, by dropping a bomb on the undefeated Wolverines on Valentine’s Day.  Cody K clinching the scoring title on the empty netter was the ultimate exclamation point on their season, and officially pronounced them playoff ready.
 
They definitely impressed on Saturday, but made a few too many mistakes in the second, and mistakes are kryptonite against the wolverines. 
 
There were times on Sunday they fanned on clearances or missed passes. But every time they did, they bailed each other out by blocking shots and winning battles. Garrett Muir was knocking pretty much every rebound to wherever the Wolverines weren’t.  I even said the game was a good showcase for the league, as it was two terrific teams playing about as well as they can. No one likes comparisons, but I say this may have been the best full-game performance from this team since the graduation of Jeff Shipton, Brett Loney and Co.
 
And it goes without saying that the Wolverines threw everything they had at it, particularly in the third. They came to FSJ hungry for their record, and threw the kitchen sink into their effort to close it out. They simply couldn’t penetrate the FSJ defence in the third. They shortened their bench. Couldn’t score.  They kept pucks in: Couldn’t score. They got powerplays: Couldn’t score. 
 
It is too bad the Huskies didn’t do it to Ryan Demharter, but ZB played well, and the pups could have also had a couple more. There’s no way RD stops Steve Fast if he gets better wood on Dylan’s all-star set-up, and ZB’s gem glove save in the third kept WCT in the game. 
 
BK said he got 60 minutes “from every guy from Garrett on out” and GM definitely made a good case tonight. The book GM was starting to say ‘doesn’t handle adversity well,’ but he bounced back from an airball on the first shot he faced to deliver a masterpiece from there on out.
 
The harder the Huskies worked, the more the bounces seemed to go their way, and they continued to battle to fight off bad bounces against.
 
I’m gushing, but it’s the end of the season, and the topic of this post had to be “Are they playoff Ready?”, and the answer is a big yes.
 
JC keeps telling Mike and me that this team is hungry, and based on their past three weekends, every game but the loss in Slave Lake is suggesting he’s right.
 
 
If a hockey team is hungry, I think it should approach a game like a meal.
The Huskies came to play on Saturday, but by the time the main course rolled around, they were getting full, and they couldn’t finish the wild boar they ordered.  On Sunday, they started with a salad, and then wowed the crowd with steaks for main course and desert.   
 
 
It’s looking very much like the Huskies have laid the foundation for another good run in the playoffs. The key heading forward is to maintain the momentum and energy level against Beaverlodge. They won’t see Whitecourt again for a few weeks, and that won’t happen unless they keep the foot down, and the effort level up. 
 
But for now, it’s thumbs up on a good season, a rookie of the year, a scoring champ, and a party successfully ruined.
 
For their next trick? 
 
A win in Whitecourt…