Aside from a blip last week seeing a tough 8-5 loss to the Grande Prairie Athletics, the Senior Canucks have been dominant, with a league leading 7-1 record. Last night, they had a chance to make up for that mark on their record, facing GP on the road, and they made good on it, winning 6-3.
“It was a wakeup call last week when we didn’t show up to play against them and they walked all over us, so it was nice to rebound with a win there,” says head coach Chris Stevens.
It was a bit of a different look behind the bench, actually, with GM Craig Benning making his coaching debut in lieu of Stevens who was sick.
The Athletics got on the board first with a goal about seven minutes in.
1:38 later, however, Kevin Swales put up the first of four straight Canucks goals — and one of three power play goals in that stretch.
Ben Moffatt, Kyler Krantz, and Sean Maktaak’s tallies came in the second period, before another GP goal made it 4-2 before the second intermission.
Spencer Gover and Matt Schmermund added goals in the third to take the final to 6-3.
Kenton White made 38 saves (.927 SV%), with GP outshooting the Canucks 41-39
This season the Canucks have been firing on all cylinders, Stevens says.
“We’re getting strong goaltending, our defence has been exceptional all year. We’ve always had good offence in the past, but we’re starting to learn how to play a team game more than anything, and I think it’s been a big help. It’s obviously showing in the standings.”
It’s a bit of a lighter schedule this week and next. The contest versus GP was the only game this weekend, and next weekend they play two home games.
“It’s always good. It’s a weekend off for the boys to just get away, get refocused. Definitely during the winter months it’s pretty grueling, sometimes the schedule with the late practices, a coupe games in a week, guys get banged up and sick. I think the weekend off will be a big help and we just got to make sure we’re ready to go and not sleeping when we do get back at it,” explains Stevens.
And next Thursday (December 13) is the first home matchup against the Fort St. John Flyers — and three of the next four heading into Christmas are against them.
“It’s been kind of weird, we’ve only faced them once so far in the season. The two teams will be itching to have a good game, so we definitely got to be prepared for that one because it’s just like any other team, if we don’t show up, these teams are good teams and they’ll put us away,” says Stevens. “I think it’ll get that rivalry back and some hate between the two teams for sure.”
Next Saturday (the 15th) sees High Prairie come to Memorial Arena. The Thursday game starts at 8 pm, while Saturday sees an 8:30 pm puck drop.