FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Fort St. John Huskies played in front of a capacity crowd at Pomeroy Sport Centre on Sunday, shutting out the newly-renamed Dawson Creek Kodiaks 5 – 0.
It didn’t take long into the first period for the home team to get its first goal of the season.
Justin Brownlee found a lane from the blueline to the slot where he ripped a shot past the netminder’s blocker-side.
Later in the second period, Cole Cowan jumped on his own rebound in a net-front scramble to put the Huskies up 2 – 0.
In the second period, both teams traded a handful of penalties. Huskies goalie Daniel Sturgeon stood tall though, stopping all 14 shots he faced before giving the crease to Tyler MacArthur for the second half of the game.
Huskies coach Todd Alexander says the team found its discipline in the third, and with it, the momentum shifted all the way to the home team.
“Our discipline was poor in the first two periods, 12 out of 18 shots after 40 minutes were from their power play, which slowed our pace down that we like to play,” said Alexander. “The third was much better. We ran them out of gas, we only allowed six shots in the third and none of them were from the high danger area.”
Early in the third period and on the power play, Jared Winkel ripped a shot from the high slot just under the bar to make it 3 – 0 Huskies.
Perhaps losing a bit of confidence, the Dawson Creek Kodiaks made some defensive zone mistakes leading to more time spent in their own zone.
The Huskies pounced on an odd-man rush, and a great selfless play by Conrad Wiebe to spring Raymond Dick for a breakaway may as well have been a foregone conclusion. Dick faked his shot, the goalie bit, and Dick calmly reached over to the backhand for an easy goal to go up 4 – 0.
With relentless pressure to the final buzzer, the Huskies were all over the Kodiaks in their own zone. After it took two Kodiaks to clear one Huskies forward from the slot, Nathan Brownlee was left all alone to slide the puck past a sprawled goaltender, and the Huskies lead was extended to 5 – 0.
The Huskies outshot the Dawson Creek Kodiaks 44 – 24 by the end of the game, a solid measuring stick for the team after 10 months without real competition.
Coach says the guys are adjusting well to the systems and the expectations of the team in the short time they have been together.
“Overall, I’m happy with the amount of time we’ve practised together, and how many guys are getting accustomed to the new systems they haven’t played before. It’s back to work this week, getting ready for Cold Lake.”
The Huskies will take on the Cold Lake Ice in a pair of exhibition games this weekend before everything gets real. The regular season will begin on the road in Dawson Creek on September 24th.
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