Whitehorse Huskies beat Fort St. John Flyers 6-5 in an extremely tight and even game yesterday.
The teams put on a great show with a strong back and forth game, and are facing off again in the semi-finals tonight at 7 p.m.
Whitehorse finished second in the round robin with two wins (Smithers and Fort St. John) and one loss (Terrace). Fort St. John Flyers finished third with one win (Smithers), one tie (Terrace), and a loss (Whitehorse).
Terrace earned a bye into the finals, finishing first with two wins (Whitehorse and Smithers) and a tie (Fort St. John). Smithers is out of the Coy Cup, finishing last in the round robin.
The semi-final game is sure to be intense, as the teams matched up very evenly yesterday.
“We’ve only played two games but it almost feels like a rivalry already,” said Huskies captain Ian Smith of the match against the Flyers. “We match up good against them.”
Both teams battled hard right from the face off yesterday.
Huskies scored the first goal five minutes into the first period. They were fighting for the shot for nearly a full minute, moving the puck around the Flyers’ end until Rob Warner got a clear shot and fired it in for a 1-0 lead.
But the Flyers tied up the game five minutes later, with Marcus Juister shooting the puck and Adam Horst rebounding it and firing it past the goalie.
Two minutes later, Flyers took the lead 2-1 with a beautiful pass across from Joey Massingham to Rick Cleaver who buried it in the bottom corner of the net.
Both teams kept the puck moving with skill and speed, passing and intercepting and switching possession back and forth.
Huskies tied up the game 2-2 with five minutes left in the first period, a power play goal scored from the centre by Kevin Petovello.
The second period featured the same high energy, back and forth play.
Five minutes into the second period the Huskies earned a 3-2 lead.
After several shots and rebounds, Adam Henderson managed to chip it in.
But less then a minute later, Flyers tied up the game again, with a shot by Josh Bostock flaking off the goalie and into the net.
The energy did not seem to lessen, as the teams battled hard back and forth.
Halfway through the second period, the Flyers had the puck in the bottom left side of the Huskies net. Robbie Sidhu managed to launch a pass to Jeff Fast in front of the net, who put it in.
The second period ended with the Flyers in the lead 4-3.
Much of the same back and forth puck movement kept the audience on the edge of their seats with lots of close chances.
Ten minutes into the third period, Huskies managed to tie up the score 4-4 with a power play goal by Gibson Pearson.
But four minutes later, Flyers scored again. Josh Bostock was skating up the left side and launched the puck in front of the net and Adam Horst chipped it in.
Huskies came right back with another goal a minute later. Rob Stuckey broke free from the other players and skated the puck down the centre, carving just to left and firing off a goal.
That tied up the game 5-5 with just under six minutes left.
Both teams battled hard and it was clear the game could go either way.
Kane Dawe from the Huskies got the puck at two minutes, skated up the left side and passed it across to Derek Klassen who cut in from the right and shot it in to earn the Huskies the 6-5 lead.
Huskies captain Evan Campbell said he was exhausted after the game but felt great.
“It was a great effort all the way through, but especially in the third there. We battled hard, everybody. It was a gutsy win for sure,” he said.
Campbell said that goalie JJ Gainsforth played an awesome game, especially in the first period, and didn’t let his mistakes get him down.
“It was a tight match up,” he said, adding that momentum is always great in tournaments like this.
The teams will battle for their shot at the Coy Cup title in the semi-final game tonight at 7 p.m. at the Terrace Sportsplex.