The weekend festivities began Saturday evening, when the two teams squared off for game one of the double-header weekend, as the Huskies suffered a hard fought 2-1 loss, after Slave Lake scored twice on the power-play.
Blair Karasiuk scored the Huskies' only goal Saturday, following some crisp passes from linemates Robbie Sidhu and Dylan Houle.
Unfortunately, the Huskies were only able to find the back of the net once, resulting in the 2-1, game one final, while going 0/10 on the power play.
Sunday, goal scoring didn’t seem to be a problem for either team, however, it wasn’t exactly a picture perfect start to a game, which felt more like a post season game than one taking place in December.
The highly intense game two started off with the Huskies going down 4-1 in the first period, courtesy of four power-play goals from Slave Lake, most of which were rebounds whacked in past Travis McLean, while one took an awkward bounce off the boards catching McLean off guard.
The Huskies managed to score a power-play marker of their own before the end of the first, courtesy of Jordan Gies, wrapping up the opening frame 4-1 in favour of the Wolves.
Throughout the first period, it was obvious both teams weren’t too fond of their opposition – the two teams had met three times prior to the weekend double header – as penalties began to rack up, and the intensity reached a boiling point. Scrums ensued after every whistle, and eventually, tempers boiled over following a few questionable hits, resulting in the ejection of Huskies’ defencemen Jordan Gies and Wyatt Anderson.
Entering the second period with a depleted blue line and down 4-1, it didn’t look good for Fort St. John. However, something extremely motivating must have been said in the first intermission, as the Huskies emerged determined and focused on the task of tying the game.
Fort St. John dominated the second and third periods, scoring the only three goals in the remaining regulation, while displaying some excellent discipline.
Rookie Jayton Wieler, who played some of his best Huskies hockey this weekend, got the ball rolling, using his body to protect the puck entering the offensive zone, and made a nice pass to a streaking Cayle Bell, returning from an ankle injury Sunday, who tipped the puck five-hole for a 4-2 game.
Wieler’s day wasn’t done there, as the winger got the puck in the high slot halfway through the second, dragging it slightly on the toe of his stick, and firing a hard, confident wrist shot high glove, beating Wolves seventeen year old goaltender Rhiley Ladaroutte, bringing the Huskies within one goal of tying the game.
That game tying goal came in the third period, when defenceman Taylor Greatrex did an excellent job of keeping the puck alive for his team in the offensive zone, only to get it back a moment later, unloading a slap shot which beat a screened Ladaroutte for the 4-4 game tying goal.
With 1:50 left in regulation, the Huskies took a too many men penalty, unleashing what had been a deadly Wolves power-play all weekend long. The Huskies did a great job of surviving regulation, and killed off the final ten seconds of the power-play in overtime.
However, just as the Huskies' fourth player was skating to even up the number of bodies on the ice, a Wolves centering pass pinballed off a handful of skates, changing various angles and directions, and slowly trickled by Travis McLean, for the hard to swallow 5-4 game-winning goal.
Following their back-to-back victories, the Wolves have now won an impressive six games in-a-row.
It was a tough one to swallow for McLean, who played incredibly all weekend long, making a total of 59 saves, constantly keeping the Huskies alive throughout both games.
Even though the team didn’t register a weekend win, they managed to leave Slave Lake with a point, moving the Huskies into a tie for sixth place with the Sexsmith Vipers.
The Huskies are back on the road this weekend, as they take on the Blades in Beaverlodge Friday, then have a meeting with their neighbouring rivals, the Dawson Creek Junior Canucks in Dawson Creek on Saturday.
Both games can be heard live on 100.1 Moose FM.