Posts tagged #NWJHL

On Mitch Palfi, Jordan Tonsi, and judgment.

 Saturday's game between the Dawson Creek Junior Canucks and the Slave Lake Wolves was always destined to be a strange one. They always are. 

When we made our first trip to Slave Lake last season, we were in some ways fortunate to arrive on a semi-historic evening for the both the team and the town they play for. It was the Wolves first home game in their return to the NWJHL, and a tall drink of water for a community thirsty for junior hockey, having gone a year without it in the wake of the terrible fires that had ravaged Slave Lake the previous summer. It was an emotional evening, for some perhaps too emotional -- as in the third period, when an intoxicated fan dissatisfied with my call of the game offered to take my job off my hands, so that, in his words, he could tell the folks back home just how bad the Junior Canucks really were. When I refused, he offered to fight me instead. I was able to talk him out of all of this, live on the air, in what is still the most bizarre incident I've been a part of as a broadcaster.

Canucks activate the D in dramatic back-to-back wins

The importance of providing an entertaining product for the Dawson Creek fans paying to watch wasn't lost on Head Coach Eric Fulton after a demoralizing 8-3 loss to the Fort St. John Huskies in the season opener. For the first time in a number of years, the team came into the season with a great deal of positive buzz, and rewarding the faithful was a priority.

Consider that faith rewarded. A pair of victories in Week 2 of the season could hardly have been more dramatic, as both required extra time. Saturday's tilt against the Beaverlodge Blades was won on a TJ Norris snipe in the shootout, while Spencer Gover powered the Junior Canucks to an overtime win over the Slave Lake Wolves on Sunday afternoon with consecutive goals -- first to force the extra frame with 3:01 to go in regulation, then to win the game just 46 seconds into OT.

While the games were great drama for fans in the building, the coach wasn't exactly biting his fingernails on the bench. "I was more concerned with the way we played, the score will dictate itself," said Fulton, with a laugh.

But the thrill of overtime wasn't lost on him either. "It is exciting obviously to get into the shootout, but we did talk about it earlier that we needed to give the fans something to get excited about and enjoy. I think the boys did a good job of that. ...not on purpose, by the way. We didn't mean to have overtime games, but it happened that way, and I think it was enjoyable for everybody. "

Canucks fall flat on opening night, routed 8-3 by Huskies

 Speaking with acting captain Connor Rose ahead of Saturday's season opener, the same theme came up again and again. "We just need to get the lines together and find some chemistry," he said. "Once we get a little ways into this season, we'll click pretty good. This is a team that's not as close off the ice. ... We're still working out the kinks."

In short: we aren't a team yet.

He was talking about the team's pre-season losses at the time, but he could have just as easily been talking about Saturday's stunning loss at the Memorial Arena, where a group of individuals wearing the same coloured jersey were demolished 8-3 by the Fort St. John Huskies in their home opener.

Canucks put pre-season results behind them and prepare for war with Fort St. John

As the season opener approaches and the Junior Canucks officially turn the page on last year's results, their final tune-up game of the exhibition schedule told a familiar story. Hitting the road for the first time this year, Dawson Creek headed to Grande Prairie, Alberta, and were dispatched by the hometown JDA Kings by a lopsided 8-1 score.

The Kings have been have been a perennial powerhouse in the NWJHL, and a win, even in pre-season, would have gone a long way in demonstrating how far this club has come over the summer. And while they may not be all the way there yet, the score hides a number of promising steps for Dawson Creek.

"We chance-for-chance'd them for the first two periods -- they buried and we didn't, but shots were close, for the most part," says Head Coach Eric Fulton, whose team just couldn't get a lucky bounce. "But you could tell from last year to this year, we could take the play to them. We'd have two or three good shifts in a row where we're in their end the whole time and we're putting it to them... I think at the end of the day they just have some more mature hockey players and our guys just have a little ways to develop to catch up to that."

Junior Canucks fall 7-4 to Sexsmith in pre-season opener

The Dawson Creek Junior Canucks kicked off their exhibition schedule last night at the Memorial Arena with a 7-4 loss at the hands of the visiting Sexsmith Vipers.

The result is not as bad as it sounds for the Junior Canucks, who sat most of their top players for the game to get a better look at the guys competing for spots in the bottom-six. But head coach Eric Fulton wasn't content to lean on the built-in excuse after the game.

Colton Anderson cut as Junior Canucks release three goaltenders

An extremely competitive training camp with improved depth at every position has been both a blessing and a curse for the Dawson Creek Junior Canucks, as an influx of talented fresh faces means heart-wrenching decisions for the coaching staff.

On Saturday, the hammer fell on the first of those decisions, as goaltender Colton Anderson was cut from the club following a difficult outing that saw him allow five goals in the first 25 minutes of play.

Junior Canucks to take a bite out of hunger with Intrasquad charity game

Hockey fans hungry for a taste of on-ice action will get a chance to take in an Intrasquad game at the Memorial Arena this Friday, while doing their part to end hunger in Dawson Creek.

With a number of cuts still to be made before the Junior Canucks get down to the NWJHL roster limit, Head Coach Eric Fulton and General Manager Ashley Rude are eager to give players an extra opportunity to show what they've got in an effort to prove they belong on the club.

For fans, it's a chance to see what the team could look like as we inch closer and closer to the season opener on September 21st.

There are enough forwards still left on the team to ice two full line-ups, meaning every player will be putting it all on the line so as not to get sent packing.

Admission to the intrasquad game is free with the donation of a non-perishable food item to the local Food Bank, so come out and watch Team Red take on Team White, on Friday, September 13th. Doors open at 7:30, puck-drop at 8PM.

Dawson Creek Junior Canucks poised for powerhouse season

Training camp has wrapped and the Dawson Creek Junior Canucks feel like they're poised to be a powerhouse in the NWJHL this season.

With more than 45 players in attendance for both this past weekend's training camp, as well as the week-long conditioning camp that preceded it, General Manager Ashley Rude and Head Coach Eric Fulton face a number of difficult decisions in paring that number down to the roster limit.

A couple of cuts came quickly after camp closed on Sunday, but the bulk of them will be made in the weeks to come, as the team gets a better idea of how players handle game situations in pre-season action.

The season opener is set to go in 16 days, as the Junior Canucks play host to their Peace Region rival Fort St. John Huskies at the Memorial Arena on Saturday, September 21st.