FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Fort St. John Huskies completed their exhibition season with two wins and a loss after splitting the weekend series against the Cold Lake Ice. After proving their scoring power with 17 goals in three games, now they shift their focus to the regular-season opener on Friday.
The Huskies boarded the bus on Friday for a nine-hour trip to Cold Lake, Alberta, and the guys wasted no time stretching their legs. Just 20 minutes in, they had burst out to a 4 – 0 lead on a pair of goals from Kurtis Lee, Brandon Modde and Dawson Phillips.
Lee collected his third and Modde scored his second of the game in the middle frame, while the Cold Lake Ice were able to get on the board to make it 6 – 1 after 40 minutes.
Keaton Hartness scored a pair of goals in the third period, Chase London got one and the fourth goal for Kurtis Lee closed out the game, while the Ice were only able to beat goaltender Daniel Sturgeon once more in the final frame. The final score: 10 – 2 Huskies.
It was a different story on Sunday as the Huskies found themselves down by two goals in the first period. Coach Todd Alexander says the team learned a valuable lesson.
“The first game, we had a lot of energy. We had travelled all day, we had two of our top three defensemen in the lineup, so things went well. Then, getting up to play again the next day, right out of the gate it got to our legs. We also didn’t really play to our game plan very well,” said Alexander. “It was good for the guys to go through it. I think they identified it on their own.”
Alexander says the Huskies found their game for only about seven minutes in the final period, and they almost clawed back into the game. Unfortunately, the Ice scored another goal to win the second game 3 – 2. The Huskies got goals from Evan Dotzler and Jared Winkel in the loss.
“We started to get some zone time, we started to get some dangerous scoring opportunities and were able to bang in two, but it was a little too late. All in all, a really good learning lesson for them about what happens when you play an individual game.”
Coach Todd Alexander didn’t make the trip, but Gary Alexander, Jeremy Clothier and Bill Snow did. When things started to go sideways on Sunday, he could have started barking at the players and correcting systems. Instead, he let the players take the lead.
“Gary could have made adjustments or pinpointed a few things or gave them some information, but it was a great opportunity to allow them to work through it and see how they adjusted on their own. I think going forward, they’ll learn more of a lesson than if Gary had made all the adjustments for them.”
Coach says the league still hasn’t made a final decision on whether teams will be allowed to carry 23 or 25 players on their roster, but he says the Huskies are assuming it will be a 25-man roster, like last year.
The Huskies will take Tuesday off, generously donating their ice to the minor hockey organization, and they will practise twice before heading to Dawson Creek on Friday for game 1 of the 2021-2022 NWJHL regular season.
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