The Horse Lake Chiefs and Dawson Creek Canucks combined for 21 goals in a wide-open 12-9 Dawson Creek loss that saw several lead changes, weak goals and porous defence on both sides Saturday night at the Memorial Arena.
The Canucks were looking for their second win in seven starts this North Peace Hockey League season, but it didn't help that the local senior men's hockey team showed up to host the Chiefs with just two goalies and 10 skaters.
"Ten guys is what we had tonight and that included a junior player (Colter MacLean) who couldn't make their (Junior Canucks') road trip this weekend as well as one of our coaches (Frank Roberts). It is what it is. It is that time of year and everybody is busy working and has other commitments," said Dawson Creek coach Sheldon Wilkinson.
"It was one of those games and we were tired and when you are tired you make mistakes and they capitalized on them. They have a couple of guys out there who can score at any given moment if you give them a chance and when you are tired you make a couple of mental mistakes and that is it."
Cody Pederson is one of those Chiefs who Wilkinson pointed out can put the puck in the net as he led the Horse Lake club with four goals and three assists. Mike Lalonde had three goals and Travis Cunningham Shawn Gertz, Kevin Boutiler, Bobby Coles and Carl Horseman each had one apiece.
On the other side of the score sheet, Kris Desjarlais and MacLean both scored hat tricks for the Canucks. Desjarlais is in his second season with the Canucks, while MacLean had work commitments this weekend so was unable to join the Jr. B team on its road trip and instead pulled on a senior Canucks' sweater Saturday night.
Justin Paul picked up two including a highlight-reel goal in the second and the best of the 21 goals scored when he fought off a couple of Horse Lake defenders who was hacking and slashing him and deked Chiefs' goalie Denny Stephan.
Jesse Johnston also scored for Dawson Creek.
Desjarlais scored on the first shot of the game when he beat Stephan with a wrist shot as he broke down the right side 20 seconds in. However, the Chiefs scored five straight goals in the first period, led 5-1 at one point and things looked bleak for the hosts.
Andrew Nash started between the pipes for the Canucks but was pulled after the first two goals and replaced with JB Agar.
"[I was] trying to fire the team up and make sure that I sent a message that we needed to pick something up. When you pull a goalie, it is not always about him. Throw a new guy in, maybe something will spark or something will happen and it didn't, but you have to try anything that you can."
The Canucks potted one on the power play at the end of the first and scored four straight in an eight-minute span in the second for a 6-5 lead before ending the period with the score knotted at seven.
The Chiefs outscored the Canucks 5-2 in the final 20 minutes for their third win of the season after losing 6-2 to the Flyers in Fort St. John Friday night.
Saturday night's slow first period and strong second is characteristic of the Canucks this season.
"We clawed back and if we didn't have to claw back we would dominate the game, so it is just one of those things that we have to fix."
The Canucks next play Thursday night when they host the Grande Prairie Athletics.
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