Trackers bump slump

The Northeast B.C. & Yukon Midget Trackers finally put their 11-game losing skid to a halt on Saturday when they tied the Strathcona Warriors 1-1 in Dawson Creek.

Despite losing their first game to the Warriors 5-0 last Friday, the Trackers pulled up their socks for the second half of the double header and got the monkey off their backs.

"We didn't really come out very strong," said Wyatt Gale about Friday's 5-0 game. "We weren't skating, we weren't doing much that the coach asked of us, and they were scoring, their shots were pretty high and so were ours, but we couldn't buy a goal that game."

"We're still working hard, but things haven't been going our way and they took advantage of our mistakes."

On Saturday, the Warriors were up 1-0 leading into the final minutes of the game, and it was assistant captain Gale who got the game-tying goal with a mere 1:50 left in the third period.

"I think we earned that one. It was the first goal we'd scored in five or six periods and it was a nice goal," Gale said from Whitehorse on Monday. "Everyone stepped up that game, everyone was skating and making passes. Our execution wasn't quite there but we were able to score in the last minute to get a point."

"Jarrett [Malchow] was going down the wing and he passed over to Ryan [Friesen], then he passed it over to me and I shot and luckily it went in. I was just happy to get the goal, there was a pretty big celebration."

It hasn't been easy for the Trackers to stay mentally focused after such a long losing streak, but the team stuck together and made sure everyone stayed positive.

"It's always in the back of your head, but we were always telling each other not to get down on ourselves and that eventually we'd get a point and break the slump," Gale said.

"It was nice to get a point at least in one of the 11 games. Our team morale's a lot higher now. Everyone's just happy to finally get a point and I think it'll carry into the New Year, and hopefully we can win a couple games."

The Trackers have good timing too, ending their slump in their last game of 2013 right before Christmas break, which Gale says will be good for the team.

"Everyone's happy going into the break, it's nice to have a break from hockey," he said.

"We're all happy. Some of us came back to Whitehorse to see their families pretty excited for Christmas. Hopefully in the New Year we can get a few wins."

With playoffs just around the corner, the Trackers are hoping the high they finished 2013 on will carry forward into 2014 so they can move up in the standings in the Northern Alberta Midget Hockey League.

"We're going to try to get as many wins as we can to get high in the standings and face off with not-as-good of a team as us and hopefully go far in playoffs," Gale said.

The Trackers' first game of 2014 will be Friday, Jan. 3 in Dawson Creek against the Whitecourt Wolverines.

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