NEBC Trackers edge Central Zone Rockets 5-3 in third-period comeback

Connor Bowie scored twice in the third period to earn a hat trick and lift the Northeast B.C. Trackers to a 5-3 comeback win over the Central Zone Rockets Wednesday evening.

"We felt we had them on the ropes, we had them scrambling," assistant coach Gavin Brandl said.

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"I'm real proud of the boys. All year we've been in positions where our backs have been against the wall and we've always battled. That's all we've asked from the group."

NEBC Trackers forward Connor Bowie scored a hat trick against the Central Zone Rockets March 21, 2018. - Matt Preprost

The Trackers entered the third down 3-2 and facing the prospect of being eliminated from championship contention at the Midget Tier 1 BC Hockey Championships taking place in Fort St. John this week.

Bowie tied the game for the Trackers at 13:51 of the third, with an assist from Zury Reschke. Two minutes later, Bowie scored again to put the Trackers up 4-3, with assists from Aiden Craig-Steele and John Herrington. It would prove to be the eventual game winner and give Bowie a hat trick on the night.

Craig-Steele scored with less than five minutes to play to put the Trackers ahead 5-3.

With four minutes left and the Trackers' Owen Floriant in the penalty box, the Rockets pulled their goaltender for the extra attacker, but couldn't score a goal, and would head to the dressing room having given up three unanswered points in the loss. 

Craig-Steele opened the game's scoring at 19:41 of the first to put the Trackers up with an early 1-0 lead. The Rockets would even the game at 15:05, with things still tied by the first intermission.

In the second, the Rockets put themselves up 3-1 with a pair of goals in the first 10 minutes. Bowie would respond with his first goal of the game at 8:20 to push the Trackers within a goal heading into the third. 

The Trackers and Rockets fired 37 shots on net each, with Trackers goalie Tyler McArthur batting away 34 pucks in the win. 

The Trackers improve to 2-2 in the tournament, and have two must-win games left in the round robin: one against the Vancouver Thunderbirds Thursday night, and another against the East Kootenay Ice Friday afternoon.

Winning both games would see the Trackers finish the round robin with eight points, and in position to catch and pass either the Prince George Cougars or the Vancouver Thunderbirds for a chance to play in the championship game Friday night.

The tournament has been tight, and the Trackers need the other teams to trade wins at the same time, Brandl said.

That includes a Vancouver win over the Saanich Braves Thursday, and for the Braves and the Rockets to both beat the Prince George Cougars over the next two days.

"We've given ourselves a chance now," Brandl said. "But we still need help."

The puck drops at 7:15 p.m. Thursday night between the Trackers and the East Kootenay Ice.

© Copyright Alaska Highway News


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