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."