Trackers split weekend homestand

The Northeast B.C. and Yukon Midget Trackers dropped the puck on their Northern Alberta Midget Hockey League season Saturday in Fort St. John with a 5-3 win over the Leduc Roughnecks.

Following the home opener, the Trackers dropped a tight-checking affair 3-2 to the Strathcona Warriors on Sunday, Oct. 16.

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In Saturday’s home opener, the Trackers took the lead with two first period goals from captain Joel Bourgeois.

The Roughnecks tied the game in the second, but the Trackers quickly snatched the lead back early in the third on a goal from Cooper Beamish. Jayden Piket scored the game winning goal midway through the third and Cooper Willms added an insurance marker with 2:26 left in the final period.

Tyler McArthur was solid in net with 31 saves.  

“[Saturday’s] game was good, for the first and second period we started the period phenomenally. We had a little bit of scramble play and then in the third we were able to pull ahead and manage the scrambley play and we were able to close it out. Improvement in the third,” assistant coach Sam Brennan said after Sunday's loss.

Jeridyn Loewen opened the scoring Sunday for the Trackers on the power play, but the Warriors added two goals in the first period to hold a 2-1 advantaged after 20 minutes.

Early in the second, Bourgeois scored his third goal of the weekend to tie the game at two.

The only third period goal went the Warriors way and handed the loss to the home side.

“All the goals came down to bounces, they had the 2 on 1 which was a bad break, the power play goal on a 5 on 3, you can’t expect to defend a 5 on 3 every time and the last one hit our [defenseman’s] stick and popped over the goalie, just a bad bounce,” Brennan added.

Despite the loss Sunday, Brennan liked the strides that his team has made early on in the season.

“They’re improving at a phenomenally fast rate,” he said. “I wasn’t there at the tournament in Kamloops (Oct. 7-9) but from the exhibition games before, we are miles ahead. We still see a lot of thing we can improve on… our defensive zone coverage has improved a lot, but it still has a ways to go.

“Transition play, we are seeing more speed on the forecheck. Going forward, a better regroup and a more unified transition so we are attacking together and then individual skills sets [as well].”

The Trackers will travel to Grande Prairie on Friday to take on the GPAC TEK Plumbing and Heating Storm, before returning home Saturday when they host the Fort McMurray Barons in Dawson Creek at 3 p.m.

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