Saturday, January 31, 2009

Huskies win in GP

The Huskies tonight played their first road game since December 13th when they were in Dawson Creek. It was a hard fought and well deserved 3 - 1 victory for the pups over the Grand Prairie Wheelers. Zach Blain didnt have a ton of work to do in net but the saves he had to make he made. The only goal that got past him was scored by Jeff McVey during a 5 on 3 powerplay for GP. Kole Norris had 2 goals and both were absolute roof jobs from the slot up under the bar. Dan Pappin also chipped in with a beauty snipe of his own. Seems like the Huskies might be starting to buy into the system and playing a lot better in their own zone with both the D and the forwards defending well and getting pucks out of the zone whenever they can. Brandan Smith has been playing very well of late and helped, along with Huskies player of the game Jon Spence, to make up for the absence of Payden Wongstedt. A similar effort tonight in Whitecourt will really go along way to helping the pups clinch 2nd spot in the NWJHL. The pregame show kicks off at 8:15.

Flyers lose?

The Flyers lost? 3 to 2 in OT was the final in Grand Prairie on Thursday night. Ryan Bjorklund stood on his head for FSJ and was the best player on the ice for either team. The Flyers continue to struggle to find their identity. The game the Flyers want to play a physical style of game that involves an aggressive fore check and they haven't been playing that game lately. They will be back in action taking on High Prairie Saturday night at the NPA. I would blog a bit more in depth but it is 2 in the morning and it has been a loing couple days. Not to mention I will be back on a bus in 8 hours to head to Whitecourt.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Flyers @ GP Athletic's

The last time these two teams met the Athletics showed up at the NPA with 8 skaters. What ensued was basically a game of shinny. A 10 - 2 Flyers victory was almost inevitable given the few number of GP players who made the trip. Tonight's match up should be a little better. The game being in Grand Prairie means that the A's should have a full bench. They get great goal tending from their number 1 Dave Larson. This guy stand on his head and was one of the main reasons that GP beat the Flyers on opening night which is still the Flyers only loss of the season. FSJ just added a new player for their AAA playoff run, Mike Hoffstrand played with Dave ALexander at SAIT and played pro in Bakersfield with Todd Alexander. Unfortunately the new guy won't be able to play any games during the regular NPHL season nor the NPHL playoffs. One guy who should be in the lineup tonight and who will be a welcome addition to the Flyers lineup is Matt Shuya. Shuya is back from a long trip and is dying to get back in the lineup. Shuya is a grinder who brings it every night and never takes a shift off. He is a little like Corey Perry in that he is a grinder with some hands. 7 goals and 9 assists in 7 games so far this season show that Shuya has finish. The Flyers should win tonight but this is one of the few games where we could see an excellent battle. Look for a 6 - 2 final score for the Flyers. 8:15 pregame live on Moose FM.

Team Canada and the ruskies

I am going to post a preview of tonight's Flyers versus Grand Prairie game but I need to get something off of my chest. I am really getting sick and tired of people going on and on about the Russian team and how scary good they will be at the next Olympics. First of all they will be good. There is no doubt they have the top end talent. Do they have the depth? That's an interesting question, I mean with the way Ovechkin plays the game there are no guarantees he will be healthy for the Olympics, and will Russia be scary good without him? Probably not as scary. But even if every team is healthy, isn't there one other team that is not only scary good but has incredible depth? That's right Canadians, there is one country that fits that description and guess what, that country is Canada. Iginla, Crosby, Thornton, Marleau, Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, Lecavalier, Nash, Getzlaf, Perry, Marc Savard, Doan, Gagne, Heatley, Spezza, Staal, Cammalleri, Toews, I could go on and on. That's not to mention Boyle, Phaneuf, Green, Bouwmeester, Weber, a handful of guys in Chicago who are shut down type guys plus Campbell is a stud having a slightly off year. Notice I didn't include Pronger or Neidermayer. We have the best goalie in the world and guys like Mason and Price are up and coming guys who could back up not to mention Gigeure and Turco. Let's be honest I probably forgot a handful of guys who could be on this team. What I am trying to say is while the other countries will have good teams and Russia might, might, have more high end talent I don't like that people focus on how good the other countries are and they forget to talk about how good our country is. And you do have to factor in the home town crowd and the physical nature of that team especially on the back end. Will Canada win gold? Who knows. Are Russia scary good? Sure. Is Canada scary good? Absolutely. And let's not forget it.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Huskies sweep their weekend

That was a close one. If you were at the NPA this afternoon you witnessed one of the great goal tending performances in NWJHL history. Sheldon Longson stood on his head for the first 43 minutes of the game. It took 50 shots, that's not an error, 50 shots for the Huskies to finally beat Longson. The Beaverlodge Blades are the third worst team in the NWJHL standings but after two periods they were leading the Huskies 2 zip. The second period was pure domination from the Huskies who hit 3 or 4 posts to go along with the 15 or 16 spectacular saves Longson made in the period but the Huskies still trailed by 2 after the second. In the third period Cam McKinnon, Cody Hildebrand, and Dan Pappin scored in quick succession to give the Huskies the lead. The Blades tied the game up at three on a goal that Vlad would have wanted back. It was the end of his afternoon as Zach Blain came in and shut the door the rest of the way. Kole Norris found a loose puck at the side of the net and he roofed the puck to give the pups the 4 to 3 victory. The Huskies now have a three point lead over Dawson Creek and a game in hand in the battle for second place. Branden Smith had two assists and I thought Payden Wongstedt had a very good game on the back end. Steve Fast and Kole Norris looked sharp as well. Aaron Dumas had a fairly quiet game for the Blades whose stand out player was obviously Longson.

Some other things that stood out for me today. I hadn't really realized how bad the coffee is at the NPA until today. I still had two cups but I wasn't happy about either. At one point in the game Dan Pappin broke his stick and was forced to borrow a stick from Steve Fast as he skated by the bench. Guys must really hold their breath when someone else is using their lumber. I know I would be pissed if someone broke my stick but even worse would be if they scored using it. As we all know there are only so many goals in each stick. In one of the Flyers games this weekend someone, Kip Noble maybe, used a borrowed stick and ended up getting an assist. He then seemed to indicate he was keeping it. That would suck too. The Huskies next action is a road game in Grand Prairie next Friday and then Whitecourt Saturday. GP is still kind of on the cusp of that battle for 2nd place although it doesn't look like they have much of a chance of leap frogging all the teams ahead of them. The last time we were in Grand Prairie with the Huskies was on Halloween for one of the more entertaining games all year. The final was 8 - 7 Huskies. Zach Blain was pulled after the first with the Huskies trailing 5 - 1. Vlad came in and shut the door in the second as the pups staged the comeback. 5 to 5 after the second. In the third the Wheelers took the lead twice with Jordan Shipton tying the game at 6 then tying it again at 7 with 40 seconds left. Shipton then scored the winning goal in overtime to complete his hat trick. (Highlights here Let's hope for more of the same this Friday. Whitecourt is a different story. They have beat the heck out of the Huskies twice in Whitecourt already and to be honest the fans in Whitecourt, the players and even the broadcast team in Whitecourt don't think the Huskies are a good team. Let's hope they show they are a good team on Saturday. Both games will be live on Moose FM Friday the pregame goes at 7:45.

Flyers secure giant win over Navigators

Huge win last night for the Huskies. Huge. At times it wasn't pretty and their penalty killing was not good but they got the two points and that was all that mattered.

The first period was all Huskies. Peace River barely mustered a scoring chance of note while the Huskies sent wave after wave of attack into Bretton Stewart's zone and before the Navigator's goalie knew what had hit him the score was 3 nothing Huskies after one. Luke McInerney opened the scoring when his own rebound bounced over some sticks and right back to Luke in the slot and he put it home. Then Jason Arnouse made it two nothing after a good long shift of offensive pressure from the Kalb, Pappin and Apsassin line. After what seemed like about a minute and a half of play in the Nav's zone Apsassin changed on the fly, Arny came over the boards and almost immediately fired a shot home. Jon Spence made it three zip on the power play before the end of the period.

The second period was the strangest period of hockey I can remember. The Huskies dominated play, controlled the puck in their offensive zone for long stretches at a time and played as physical a period as maybe they have played all year. They also lost the period on the scoreboard 3 to 2. There were 3 powerplay markers for Peace River and 2 pp goals for the Huskies in that second period and when Cam McKinnon made it 4 zip that was the end for Stewart in the Nav's goal. Tavis Clark came in and made some outstanding saves to keep the game close. Luke McInerney scored again for the Huskies but three goals by the Nav's against the run of play made the score 5 to 3 after 2 periods of play. The Huskies should have been way out in front. They hit the post, missed two or three open nets when pucks were bouncing over sticks and Clark made 3 outstanding saves, all of which happened in the second period.

In the third the Huskies played some solid D and when the Nav's took a bench minor for arguing what seemed to be a good tripping call the Huskies were able to score on the ensuing 5 on 3 thanks to Cody Kalb. The Huskies killed 7 minutes of Nav's power play advantage in the third to secure the 6 - 3 victory. Payden Wongstest got kicked out of the game for a shot to the head which Jon thought should have just been a 4 minute penalty, Payden agreed with Jon, I thought it was simply a 2 minute minor for roughing. Gerry Young, who is a gifted hockey player, laid on the NPA ice for about 3 or 4 minutes milking it a little before hopping up and playing significant time on the ensuing power play. I have to say in my opinion he conned the ref into kicking out Wongstedt and you hate to see guys pretending to be hurt.

This was a huge win for the Huskies who not sit 1 point clear of the Junior Canucks for second in the league with the Huskies having two games in hand. The pups are also 6 points up on the Navigators now with Peace River having one game in hand. The Huskies take on Beaverlodge today at the NPA and the puck drops at 2 pm. Aaron Dumas leads the way for Beaverlodge and he may be the most offensively gifted player in the entire league. Definitely worth the price of admission.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Flyers sweep weekend

The Flyers realed off a pair of wins this weekend. First they beat Spirit River on Thrusday night in a game that was close all the way through. The Flyers don't play many tight games so it was good to see the lads have to fight to pick up the victory. Spirit River was lead by a strong performance from Wallman who chipped in with a couple of goals in the second and the Flyers actually trailed going into the third period. Adam Loncan had two goals in the game the second of which tied the game up and actually broke the puck as he wired it up off the underside of the bar and in. Luke Middleton, playing as a forward, teamed up with Ian Munro on a 2 on 1 and managed to squeak his shot through Yesminski to give the Flyers the lead back. The play was all set up though by a nice little saucer pass from Munro that took the defender out of the play and allowed Middleton to skate onto the puck and in on what was almost a breakaway.

Last night the Flyers took on Fairview who could only muster 10 skaters. The Flyers, who were unhappy with their performance the night before, took a while to get going but with Fairview being so short benched the Flyers were able to eventually turn on the jets and skate away with a fairly lopsided victory. Todd Alexander has been on fire lately and score another against Fairview as did Kersey, Hocking, Noble and Fast. Brett Loney also found the back of the net to make the final 7 to 2. The Flyers are back in action on Thursday in Grand Prairie. Jon and I will have the call starting at 8:15 with the pregame show.

Off the to NPA to check out the Huskies as they take on the Peace River Navigators.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Flyers at home against Spirit River

The Flyers take on the Rangers at the NPA Thursday, which is tomorrow as I write this with a puck drop scheduled for 8:30. The last time these two teams met we billed it as the best two teams in the league. Well we found out it was really just the best team in the league and the Rangers are in a group with a lot of other teams that aren't in the same class as the Flyers. Hopefully this next match up will be a better game than the previous two. Not sure what the rosters will look like as guys like Vizutti and Carter probably won't be in the lineup this weekend. Matt Shuya is expected back soon as well but I think this weekend will be too early for him to make his return. With any luck Spirit River will have a full bench, the Flyers will have most of their key guys in the lineup and for once the Flyers will get pushed hard by a team in the NPHL.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

NWJHL All Star Game and other musings

So I am sitting here trying to watch the Australian Open and watching what appears to be a never ending interview with Lance Armstrong. Is it possible to be sick and tired of an inspirational story? Also, to the best of my knowledge, Lancer has little or nothing to do with tennis. All I wanna see is Ana Ivanovic. I would also like to see Andy Murray hit the court but for different reasons. It's always nice to see a young up and comer figuring out how to become a champion. I am nursing some sore neck muscles today. It was Kip Noble's birthday today and so we went out and had a couple drinks with the Flyers after the "game." I wasn't even that hung over just an unfortunate combination of events led to some face to face dealings with porcelain. It could have been worse, it is always bad when the waitress responds to a question about what the specials are with the phrase, "triples." It makes for a strong drink.

I guess that Luongo being out wasn't the only problem facing the Canucks. At least Manchester United keep rolling, 10 straight clean sheets and top of the league pending Liverpool versus Everton tomorrow. Gotta love a good Merseyside derby. (Only if Everton win) I shouldn't have to explain myself but my dad is English and has been a United fan since 1958 so I was born into it.

So the All Star game was yesterday and it sounds like it was a big time success. Congrats to the Huskies who took part. The East won the game 8 to 4 and were described in Dave's blog ( as serious and intense. The West came out to have fun and were in a party mood. That sounds like it would be more fun I mean it was an All Star game after all. Dan Pappin had a couple assists, Kole Norris and Jon Spence had goals for the West. Looking at the scoring summary you have to ask where were McLean and Radke from DC? Congrats to Zach Blain as well for winning the goaltending portion of the skills comp. The Huskies return to action this weekend with a home game on Saturday at the NPA when they face Peace River. Flyers versus Spirit and Fairview could both be pretty good games, Huskies versus PR will be a good game so get out to the NPA all three nights.

Flyers win again

Saturday night was not a great night for hockey at the NPA. The Valleyview Jets showed up for their clash with the Flyers with about 11 skaters. Never a good sign for a team that was going to get blown out anyway. The Flyers were short players as well but it didn't matter they won 16 to 1. I am not going to get into too much analysis of the play. Just wanted to update the final result. The FLyers have won 19 in a row. Two home games next week Thursday and Friday against Spirit River and Fairview.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Flyers @ Fairview

The Senior Flyers are back in action tonight in Fairview with another road game. They won in Hythe on Tuesday in what started out looking like a difficult game and ended up as an easy victory. Fairview currently sit 5th in the West division of the NPHL which also places them 5th overall in the league. Let's just say the Eastern teams are a little weaker. Fairview has added a few new players however, including a former NHL tough guy Darren Van Impe, one of which we think played with Todd Alexander in Bakersfield. Some people on the NPHL message board seem to think that with all of their players in the lineup that Fairview will be able to beat the Flyers. Time will tell and I hope they do give FSJ a good hard run for their money. Man do I wish Lakovich would be in the lineup tonight. Lakovich versus Van Impe would be a fight worth the price of admission in itself. You would expect Troy Hunt to get the start in goal tonight. Hopefully the Flyers bring a nice full bench. Pre-game starts at 8:15 on MooseFM.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Whitecourt @ Dawson Creek and The Huskies

Jon Zacks and I hit the road last night and went to check out the Wolverines game against the Junior Canucks in DC. Good game. The Creek jumped out to a 3 goal lead midway through the second period but then Rodney Lavoie, probably the best player in this league, decided to turn it on. 25 seconds after DC made it 3 zip Lavoie snapped a wrister up under the bar to get his team rolling. It was 3 - 3 after two thanks to Wayne Quaife and Jeff Chalifoux. Whitecourt never looked back and despite some pretty solid goaltending from DC's Cody Garnett, Rod Lavoie was able to blast home the winning goal on a PP in the third. 5 to 3 was the final. Probably one of the better NWJHL games I have seen this season and definitely the fastest. DC and Whitecourt have to be the two fastest teams in the league. Whitecourt has and incredible amount of offensive depth. It really is impressive. Dawson Creek now has 9 losses on the season helping to cement the Huskies hold on second place. The Huskies have this weekend off as the NWJHL All Star game is Saturday in Whitecourt. The Huskies next regular season action is next Saturday at home against Peace River.

Flyers versus Hythe

Haven't been staying on top of the blog this week and I do apologize. The Flyers took on the Hythe Mustangs on Tuesday in Hythe. The first period was nice. Fast and physical and just the one goal a Luke Middleton backhander on a partial breakaway. Middleton was playing forward on the night and never looks out of place up front but he is such a good D man it seems like a bit of a waste. The highlight of the first period for me was when Jon Zacks called our radio station Moothe FM. The look on his face after he said it was hysterical, I laughed all the way through the commercial. The lisp crack he made didn't help. The second period the Flyers shifted gears and the Mustangs couldn't keep up. Arlo Hadland decided to take matters into his own hands firing rockets from the point like he thought he was Ray Bourque. A goal and 3 assists all came directly from Arlo putting shots on net. One of the assists should have been a goal but after Hadland hit the bar Paul Wiens was on hand to slot home the rebound. A 4 point period for Hadland, which he declared was his best offensive period of his life, gave the Flyers a 6 to 1 lead after 2. Four more goals in the third for the Flyers made it a 10 - 1 final. Kersey, Wiens, Loncan and Hadland leading the way. Two good fights late on as Tyler Loney went with Hythe tough guy Oakfold and Loney got the clear victory. Wiens later went with Kam Kyle, much to the chagrin of Luke Middleton who wanted a piece of Kyle himself, and despite Kyle landing a haymaker that Wiens shrugged off the split decision went to Wiens. Next up will be Friday at Fairview. Live on Moose FM at 8:15pm.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Flyers lose two close encounters with Stony Plain

The FSJ Senior Flyers played a weekend exhibition series against the Stony Plain Eagles Saturday and Sunday in Dawson Creek. First of all let me just say that while the Encana Events Center is a nice new modern building some of the design flaws in that place are laughable. The AV room faces away from the ice and doesn't have any windows. That would definitely make operating the "jumbotron" and providing music for hockey games more of a challenge. Also, why on earth is there no press box? If Dawson Creek was ever to get a Junior A hockey team surely there would need to be a press box from which to broadcast the games? Even places like Beaverlodge and Sexsmith have press boxes. And don't get me started on the bathrooms.

To the ice where in game one the Flyers got off to a shaky start when Chad Vizzutti let in a weak backhander that gave the Eagles a short handed opener. The Flyers responded with a shorty of their own when Ryan Carter used some hand eye co-ordination to steal a clearing atempt by Eagles goalie Jason Fricker who was then way out of position as Carter fed Dustin Kersey in front who equalized for the Flyers. Kersey, a Dawson Creek native, was perhaps the best Flyer forward throughout the course of the weekend. Tyler Brough scored for the Flyers as the first period ended 2 - 1 for the sort of home town team. In the second period the Eagles got goals from MacKee and Thompson to take a lead before Ryan Carter tied the game, again short handed, with a snipe just over the pad but under the blocker of Fricker and just inside the post on a partial breakaway. The game eventually ended in a shootout after Kersey was stopped on a breakaway almost straight from the face-off to start overtime and Vizzutti performed highway robbery stopping Clem Arsenault in front. Arsenault found himself all alone in front with the puck on his stick and enough time to bake a cake but he was robbed when Vizzutti stacked the pads in desperation. Drummond and Hennes scored in the shootout for Stony Plain and they took game one.

Game two saw Clayton Bahm score after some nice work in front of the net to tie the game at one after the first period. It was all down hill after that for the Flyers though as goals from Drummond, Arsenault and Beaudin cancelled out one from Dustin Kersey to make the score 4 to 2 after two periods of play. The Flyers had a number of opportunities on the PP in the third but were unable to cash any of them leading coach Brash to call the power play "atrocious" over the course of the weekend. Ryan Carter did set up another local star Adam Loncan but it was too little as the Eagles took game two by the same 4 to 3 margin.

Overall the Flyers will be dissapointed with the play of their PP and the series lacked the real physical edge that I think we were expecting. The good news is that once the McKenzie Cup roles around if these two teams play each other there will already be a healthy dislike between the teams. Especially after Dean Tiltgen from the Eagles speared a Flyer in the face in game two leading to some rough stuff and some trash talking from Wiensy. Two fights in game two as new comer Greg Lakovich, dude is intimidating on and off the ice, beat MacKee after landing an uppercut that snapped back the head of the Eagles player drawing a big reaction from the crowd. Tyler Loney also fought and was maybe just shaded to the decision.

Fan Tokey Roberts walked away with a new car after an exciting, if not overly well organized, shootout. Moose FM Sports director and Husky and Flyer play-by-play voice Jon Zacks was one number away from winning the chance to shoot for a new car. The winning ticket number ended in 063 and Zacks had 060, 061, and 062. Too bad he is cheap.

The Flyers get back to regular season play tomorrow night in Hythe. That game will be on Moose FM with pre-game at 8:15 local time.

Huskies shutout Sexsmith

The Fort St John Flyers did something on Saturday that they haven't done a lot of this season. They blew out a team that they were expected to blow out. The Huskies beat up on the Vipers thanks to a trick from Cody Kalb, 5 points from Dylan Apsassin and 3 assists from Brennan Billey plus a strong performance from goalie Zach Blain who earned his, and the teams, second shutout of the season. The final score at the NPA was 8 to nothing. The Huskies next game will be Saturday the 24th as they host the Peace River Navigators at the NPA in what should be an important battle in the race for second place. The NWJHL will be off this upcoming weekend, the 17th and 18th, as Whitecourt hosts the All Star Game.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Huskies vs. Sexsmith & Fill the Bus

The FSJ Huskies will be in action at home at the NPA Saturday night as they take on the Sexsmith Vipers. Sexsmith plays tonight in Dawson Creek so they will be a little tired and the Huskies should be fresh having not played since last Saturday. The Vipers are frankly not a very good team as well. The Huskies should take it to the Vipers but as we have seen in the first half of the season, the Huskies don't always take care of business the way we would expect. If you can't make it to Dawson Creek to check out the AAA action then make sure you get to the NPA for the Huskies.

Fill the Bus is on Sunday. The Huskies will be going around town collecting non-perishable food items for the Food Bank. Please give as much as you can and if you are planning on heading to the game in Dawson on Sunday then swing by the NPA on your way and drop off a donation. This is the biggest fund raiser of the year for the Food Bank in FSJ and they need your help.

Flyers take on Stoney Plain

Jon and I will be previewing the weekend series between the Flyers and Eagles tonight at 5:30 on the mighty Moose. After that show I will post an update on what the rosters will look like and what the teams are looking to get out of this series.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

NWJHL All Star Game

The Fort Saint John Husky who were named to the NWJHL All Star game were announced today. Congratulations to Payden Wongstedt, Captain Jonathan Spence, Kole Norris, Steven Fast, Dan Pappin, and Cody Kalb. All of them are deserving of representing the Huckies in Whitecourt. Dylan Apsassin and Jordan Shipton would certainly have been in consideration had they played more games.

The format of the All Star game will be East versus West with the Huskies along with Beaverlodge, Dawson Creek and Sexsmith representing the West. There will be a skills competition in the afternoon followed by the game later on in the evening. The players will also attend a banquet and have a chance to mingle with fans. The game will be broadcast on XM105 in Whitecourt and if you want to listen I am sure you will be able to listen through their website.

If you happen to be in Whitecourt on the weekend of January 17th you can pick up your tickets at several locations around Whitecourt, for more info check out The Voice, that's the blog of Whitecourt play-by-play voice Dave Dawson. There is a link to his blog in my links section.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Back from Vacation and ready for Stoney Plain

So I am now back from my holiday vacation to the sunny and warm climate that is Vancouver BC. Seriously, it snowed every single day I was in the Lower Mainland. What a waste of a trip. If it wasn't for my friends and family I would have gone somewhere sunny. Luckily my flight got canceled and I had to drive down on Christmas Eve, arriving home at 6 in the a.m. on Christmas Day. I am back now though and ready to get back at it.

I can not express how excited I am about heading to Dawson this weekend to watch the Flyers take on Stoney Plain. It was a great matchup where the Flyers went to the Plain earlier in the season and the Flyers are in better shape now than they were then. Not sure about the rosters yet but The Flyers will miss Shuya if he isn't there and I wouldn't expect him to be, Shuya was a monster in the first Stoney Plain series. The two teams split those first two games and I expect two more great tilts this weekend. Probably the best hockey you will see until the McKenzie Cup.

On an unrelated note, is anyone not excited about the game tonight? Hopefully Canada pulls it off with a couple of goals from Canuck prospect Cody Hodgson. And where would Canada be without Evander Kane? A late injury replacment, Kane has been massive in the knockout rounds. The Vancouver Giants continue to produce great WHL talent.