And just like that, the Dawson Creek Junior Canucks have won two straight.
They followed up a 6-0 shutout win with a dominant 5-2 victory against the Sexsmith Vipers at home Friday night, looking in control the entire night, credited with a whopping 63 shots.
It was a stark contrast to the two games prior to the win streak. (And even some of the wins this season, where the Canucks manage to hold despite the opposing team’s late third period charge).
“Honestly, the boys had a pretty hard, solid — we’ll call it a coaching practice on Monday,” says GM Colby Wagar.
“I think we kind of got off track there a bit and stopped doing the small things to make you win They just bought into it. Everyone’s just wheeling on the same page right now. There’s a solid, solid 60 minute effort for the last two games.”
A big part of Friday’s win was Chase Henrickson, who put up the game winning goal and two assists.
“We just started moving our feet more and playing a little bit of a smarter hockey game out there. We were being a little lazy the games before, and we just buckled down these last two games. Our goaltenders have been playing great too, and that helps,” he says.
Henrickson has been a solid addition to the team, joining the Canucks from the North Peace Navigators in mid-December. He’s had 10 points in eight games with the Canucks. (He had 21 in 17 games with the Navs this season).
“It was a pretty easy adjustment, I knew half the guys since I’ve lived here, and it’s a great group of guys. Everyone’s here to have fun and here to win,” says Henrickson, who is from Dawson Creek.
“Chase is a good hockey player. He doesn’t quit moving his feet, he’s always moving his feet. When Chase is down low, he seems to find whom to move the puck. For a young man like that to be able to find open ice and find open people down low is what makes him so good,” says Wagar.
Friday night, Alex Richardson scored the opening goal, and Brandon Rowley scored the first period’s other goal.
Henrickson’s tally in the second would be the game winner.
The Vipers dashed Mathew Ens’ shutout bid with two goals late in the third, but the Junior C’s never lost control, and Raymond Prive and Tanner Bahm scored goals of their own to wrap it up 5-2.
Ens ended up with 39 saves (.951 SV%).
Dustin Bahm, who had two assists Friday, was assessed a game misconduct for a hit from behind.
The Canucks have two games left on the season, and currently sit in first place. However, they are only two points above the Fort St. John Huskies, and have played three more games. (The Huskies play tonight).
“There’s two games left in the regular season, every point counts,” says Wagar. “Any team can win games, but it’s the team that’s going to be the most consistent and push for those 60 minutes of every game that will make the difference going into playoffs, setting the tone, getting yourself set into a position where you ‘re firing before you go in.”
“We want to peak, start playing the best hockey that we can going into playoffs, and can’t ask for more than that,” says Henrickson.
The Canucks hit the road for their next game against the County of Grande Prairie JDA Kings next Saturday. Their next home game — the final regular season game — goes the following Wednesday. Puck drop is 8 pm for both games.