The Dawson Creek Junior Canucks had a night to remember last night.
Not only did they have a good Wednesday showing for their annual Teddy Bear Toss, but the Jr. Canucks played one of their best games of the season against the Fort St. John Huskies at the Memorial Arena, winning by a dominant score of 5-1.
"I'm glad we played a full 60 minutes for once," said assistant coach Ian Attew. "The last time we played Fort St. John we were up 2-0 and we let them back in the game and they beat us in overtime, so it was a bit of payback. Everyone played good, all four lines, all six D had a stellar game, Round our goalie kept us in when we needed it."
"We're pretty happy with the win, all the boys are happy and it's a good way to start the holiday season."
One of last night's stars for the Jr. Canucks was Brendan Lazinchuk, who had a goal, an assist and a fight against Fort St. John's John Apsassin for the Gordie Howe hat trick.
"He's one of our veterans and I have nothing but good things to say about him all year," Attew said. He deserves to get the Gordie Howe hat trick, he stuck up for his teammates and he's one of those guys we can always count on on the back end."
"I'm glad he was rewarded tonight. He's one of the leaders in the dressing room, that's why he has an A on his jersey. He had one of his best games of the year, so I'm really happy with him.
Lazinchuk's first contribution of the night came just over five minutes into the first, when his pass to Justin Greyeyes outsmarted Huskies' goalie Daimon Derouin to open scoring in the game. The team's first goal meant the crowd got to toss their stuffed animals on the ice for the team's annual Teddy Bear Toss, which was collected by volunteers and players to be donated to the Salvation Army.
Thirteen seconds after Greyeyes' goal, Lazinchuk potted one of his own, dazing the Huskies who were suddenly down 2-0 early in the game. They'd respond with a goal of their own from Dayne Pedersen, but that would mark the only goal of the night for the Huskies, as the Jr. Canucks kept up the pressure and the shots on net.
Kody McManus scored Dawson Creek's third goal three minutes into the second period, which saw the physicality crank up between the two teams with some big hits and some undisciplined play. Although the Jr. Canucks started the season with lots of penalty problems, last night their behavior was noticeably different.
"We're trying to hold guys more accountable for the stupid stuff. When they do it, guys are getting on them in dressing room, so the guys know they're not just letting their coaches down, they're letting their peers down and that seems to be working for them," Attew explained.
"For the most part they stayed out of the box. When they had to they stuck up for each other and it went well."
To continue scoring, Randy Spoklie got a strange goal nine minutes into the third, when his shot was initially stopped by goalie Derouin who squeezed the puck between his pads, but the momentum of the goal had Derouin slide back past the goal line. Referees called it a good goal, which the Huskies didn't like.
Up 4-1 the bad blood began to brew. Apsassin and Lazinchuk fought in front of the Huskies bench and some elbows were thrown around.
On the power play for Lazinchuk's extra aggression minor from his fight, the Huskies poured the pucks on Josh Round, but a turnover had Greyeyes suddenly racing up the ice, and he scored his second goal of the night shorthanded to round out Dawson Creek's scoring.
Outshooting Fort St. John 42-29, the Jr. Canucks collected two points on top of a lot of teddy bears and plan on carrying over that momentum this weekend when they face the Vipers on Friday.
"Going into Sexsmith on Friday is definitely a positive for us. In Grande Prairie [last weekend] we had a five-minute lapse that kind of lost us the game. We were right in there for most of it and it was a close one, but we're starting to come together," Attew explained. "Guys are starting to gel, lines are starting to gel, so I think going into the holiday season things are only going to get better for us."
And the Teddy Bear Toss made sure the holiday season will go better for some less-fortunate kids in the community as well, which the Jr. Canucks are proud to be a part of.
"It went awesome," Attew said. "We were a little bit worried because Fort St. John's bus was late, the roads were pretty bad, so we weren't sure that they were going to get here. Thank God they made it, it was a huge success."
"It's nothing but good things, and I'm happy for all the fans who came out and tossed a teddy bear. It was good support for a good cause."
The Jr. Canucks' next home game will be Jan. 11 against Sexsmith.
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