Huskies fight hard to shut out Vipers

Before the game began, a ceremony took place at the North Peace Arena, as Prince George-Peace Region MP Bob Zimmer presented former Fort St. John Huskies coach, Bob Kalb, with a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, for his dedication to the game of hockey. Kalb said receiving the award for something he loved to do was a tremendous honour, but jokingly admitted, he does miss the rigors of coaching.  

Robbie Sidhu got the ball rolling in the right direction early in the first for the Huskies, as 2:21 into the game, Sidhu picked the puck up in the neutral zone, hitting his stride as he entered the Sexmsith zone. As Robbie usually does, the shifty forward made a nice move to the inside, shooting the puck high glove for the 1-0 lead, which would also eventually prove to be the game-winner for Fort St. John on Saturday.

Blair Karasiuk doubled that lead to 2-0, following a nice passing play through the ice which allowed the Huskies rookie Cayle Bell to gain entrance into the Sexsmith zone with the puck. Bell noticed karasiuk going hard to the net and made a nice pass to get the puck to the streaking centerman. Karasiuk made no mistake with the puck, tipping Bell’s hard pass high, opposite corner, beating Sexmisth goaltender Braydon Glinnum for his seventh goal of the season.

The start was a great one for Fort St. John, as not only did they manage to fire 13 shots at Glinnum in the opening frame, but the team also made things easy for goalie Travis McLean, who only faced 5 shots in the opening period.

It was more of the same as the game progressed, as the Huskies kept their foot on the offensive gas pedal, while their defence continued to play an excellent shut down game.

Brighton Campbell was the lone goal scorer of the second period, as the Huskies’ forward scored 17:13 into the second, after affiliate player Ricky Bateman worked hard to get the puck to the front of the net, which provided Campbell the opportunity to whack the puck in.

The dominance continued on the shot count in favour of the Huskies, who out-shot the Vipers 18-8 in the second.

The third capped off a great night on the ice for Fort St. John, which began with the Huskies killing off a five-on-three penalty, part of a perfect penalty killing night for the Huskies, who killed all seven Sexsmith penalties Saturday.

Following the kill 1:55 into the third, Tyler Norris scored a hard fought goal, to bring the score to 4-0.

Travis McLean’s shutout momentarily vanished in the third, as the Vipers scored on a short-handed breakaway with five minutes remaining, but the goal was waived off because of an offside call.

Bell added one final goal for the Huskies with 5:10, scoring on the power-play to provide the final score of 5-0.

Following the game, Huskies head coach Gary Alexander spoke about his teams effort Saturday.

“Played really well defensively, kept the shots to the outside and got some good goaltending when they did get through. Played pretty calm all throughout the night, and didn’t get over excited or take too many silly penalties. It was an overall pretty good game.”

Alexander added the past two wins are big for team’s momentum moving forward in the schedule, as there is a positive feeling in the dressing room with his players. However, the team is still hungry for more, as their leading scorer, Robbie Sidhu, was quoted in the dressing room after the game saying "two's a fluke, three's a streak!"

The coach also admitted the team felt disappointed for McLean when Sexsmith scored their short handed goal, letting out a sigh of relief for the goalie when the goal was called back.

It was also a big win for the Huskies in the standings, who now sit tied for sixth in the NWJHL rankings.

The Huskies will have six days to prepare for the rematch, as Friday, January 25, the boys head to Sexsmith to tango with the Vipers.

All the live action can be caught on 100.1 Moose FM.