The score remained close after the second period had concluded as the Huskies took a 3-2 lead to the dressing room despite the improved play in the middle frame. Fort St. John however took full control in the third as they scored 1:39 into the period, and managed to pop three markers in a 75 second span by the mid way point.
Head Coach Gary Alexander acknowledges that the team started slow out of the gate, but were able to get their legs under them for the final 40 minutes.
“We were pretty stagnant I thought in the first period, but they kind of got the kinks out and they came out quite strong in the second, but really came out strong in the third,” he says. “They proved it to themselves that if they play the game we coach, they can do wonders.”
A large contingent of returning players is one of the leading causes for the early success of the team Alexander says, and that’s been a big help in establishing a rhythm on the ice.
“We have 17 returning players which is a big bonus for us because they all know our systems,” he explains. “It just makes it a whole lot easier to get a flow out there.”
The Huskies once again did a great job in the neutral zone and the defensive end by taking away passing lanes and scoring opportunities for Slave Lake. The Wolves managed only 20 shots in the games including just five in the third period, none of which were of any serious threat of finding the back of the net.
“We’ve been working on defensive systems this is our third year of course, and this year it’s starting to pay off. They finally saw the particulars of it and how well it works if we clog up the middle and play in the centre and keep the puck to the outside,” Alexander states. “It’s only going to get better and better as we go because now it’s starting to show the rewards for it.”
Cole Calliou found himself on the score sheet, making it four goals in two games for the first line forward. He attributes the ease with which the team is popping pucks into the net to the team playing a complete game in all areas.
“Everyone’s going, everyone’s doing what we’re told to do.” he says. “[We’re] listening to the coach, dumping it in [and] going in hard. We’ve been hitting lots, we weren’t a hitting team but now we’ve been going. [We’re] shooting pucks, every game we’ve outshot each team by 20 shots.”
Scoring in order for the Huskies tonight were Shane Rutherford, Cole Calliou, Brighton Campbell, Cayle Bell, Jordan Gies, Brighton Campbell, Jordan Harder, Owen Barker and Cayle Bell.
Daylen Pearson was busy making plays in the offensive zone with three assists, as was Jordan Gies who had three of his own for a four point night. Owen Barker, Brighton Campbell, Blair Karasiuk, Lien Miller-Jeannotte, John Apsassin and Cole Calliou all had one helper to chip in on the scoring parade.
The Huskies massively outshot Slave Lake 49-20, while goalie Travis McLean was solid with 18 saves in a winning effort. As mentioned, the Huskies are taking care of business at both ends of the rink, outscoring their opposition 24-7 through three games.
Next up for Fort St. John is a visit to Sexsmith on Friday, October 4 which can be heard live on Moose FM. After that, the team returns home once again for a home date with Grande Prairie the following day.