Ain’t no lead safe against this team.
The County of Grande Prairie JDA Kings rallied from a two-goal deficit enroute to a 3-2 win over the Fort St. John Huskies in North West Junior Hockey League action at the Crosslink County Sportsplex on Tuesday night.
With the win, the Kings even the NWJHL semifinal at 1-1 with game three set for Thursday night in Fort. St John.
In game one, the locals were down 6-2 in the third period but rallied with three -straight goals to pull within one before dropping a 7-5 decision.
On Tuesday the Kings were down 2-0 with over 13 minutes gone in the second period but rallied with a trifecta of goals for the victory.
Exciting? Yes. Heartstopping? Yes. A recipe for future success? No.
Kings head coach Kyle Chapple was asked what’s up with the slow starts. At first he seemed, genuinely, at a loss for words but rallied and made his point clear.
The point he’s been bringing up with his charges.
“(The Huskies are) a team that like to get the puck deep and forecheck,” Chapple said. “When they do that, we allow them to. We start chasing the game and we’re on our heels … We keep preaching ‘what time does the game start tonight, boys?’ We want to start at eight thirty and not nine o’clock. We’ll keep pushing them on that. I just think it takes a goal to get us going but we need that mindset to change. Everybody has to be engaged from the get-go.”
“I’m not worried, I think we’ll get going,” Kings winger Austin Hrehoruk added.
Zach Bennett got the homeside to within 2-1 with an even-strength goal at 13:22 of the second, setting the stage for the third period.
The third was the exact opposite.
Instead of a team, waiting for something to happen to them, as opposed to creating something for themselves, the Kings were on the jazz and got rewarded for it.
The Huskies took back-to-back penalties and that was their kryptonite on this night.
“We came out in the third period just flying and they took some penalties and started chasing the game,” Chapple said.
Darrel Hewko tied the game at 2-2 with a powerplay goal at 10:46 and Hrehoruk got the game winner at 12:20, one second after the second Huskies penalty had ended.
“Our powerplay has been struggling and to get one (there) was huge for the confidence,” Chapple said.
The Kings should be positively giddy to be where they’re at for two reasons.
They haven’t put a solid 60-minute effort in either game and they’ve led for 7:20 in this series and, yet, find themselves tied at one each.
Hrehoruk was asked about the ability to fight back from a deficit. It’s been a recurring theme so far.
“We don’t have time to sit back and think about that,” Hrehoruk said. “You have to think about what you can do to correct it but you can’t think about it too much. You have to keep working.”
Darian Sommerfeld, after getting pulled during the second period of game one, was strong in his return. He stopped 30 shots for the win.
GORDON ANDERSON/DAILY HERALD-TRIBUNE