The Dawson Creek Junior Canucks put up a good fight against the Grande Prairie JDA Kings on Friday night, but a late-game resurgence for the Kings' goaltending overpowered the Jr. Canucks, who came home with a 7-5 loss.
Recently losing their long-seated top spot in the North West Junior Hockey League to the North Peace Navigators, no doubt the Kings had a bad taste in their mouth going into Friday's game.
The Jr. Canucks, on the other hand, have been on a roll, defeating some of the league's top teams and recently getting their record above .500 again.
The result was both teams came out swinging.
Dawson Creek got on the board first after a goal from Adam Huttema, but the Kings tied it up with a power-play goal a few minutes later. Kyler Krantz put his team ahead 2-1 late in the first, but again, Grande Prairie's power play struck again to tie it up 2-2 going into the second.
Using their own special teams advantage, the Jr. Canucks scored on the power play to start the second with a goal from Collin Mathieson, then three minutes later, Wyatt Kuenzi got another for Dawson Creek to give the Jr. Canucks a 4-2 lead.
It didn't last long, however.
Grande Prairie's Kevin Garner scored a minute later to bring the Kings within one, and although Spencer Gover scored a short-handed goal for the Jr. Canucks soon after, that was the last goal the Jr. Canucks would get thanks to outstanding goaltending in Grande Prairie's net in the third period.
After Gover's goal, the Kings scored four unanswered goals, two of them in the third period.
Kings' goalie Sky Buller was pulled during the second intermission in favour of Connor Goudreau, who stopped all 18 of Dawson Creek's shots in the third.
With the help of Goudreau behind them, the Kings broke the 5-5 tie on the power play nine minutes into the third, then scored another late goal from Jace Weegar to go up 7-5 and win the game.
Shots were even at 39 a piece.
Saying goodbye to 2013, the Jr. Canucks will open the New Year on Jan. 5 when they get a re-match against the JDA Kings back in Grande Prairie.
The Jr. Canucks finish 2013 with an 11-12-1 record and fifth in the NWJHL.
© Copyright Alaska Highway News