Old school hockey. That’s one way to describe the NPHL Finals series between the Dawson Creek Senior Canucks and the Grande Prairie Athletics, and game three was a prime example of that.
In a 4-1 win for the C’s, there was a little bit of everything for the fans — some good hockey, some chippiness between whistles, and a fight.
With the game pretty much in the bag for the Canucks late in the third, Canucks forward John Wayne Howes took on famous fighter Jon Mirasty — renowned for laughing during his fights, having played in the AHL, KHL, ECHL, as well as NHL exhibition games — who plays for GP.
The Duke definitely had the upper hand.
“I’m sure more helmet than face, but it looks good anyway,” Howes noted after the game.
“That’s what I play hockey for — old school,” he continued. “I like when it goes that way for us.”
Howes and Mirasty were each assessed a game misconduct, in addition to a myriad of penalties on the ice.
By the end of the game, with the Athletics out of it for this one, things definitely did get heated between the two teams — it looked like the Canucks needed to get the game done as fast as possible. But the full crowd at Memorial Arena sure got into the fun of the action.
The 4-1 result was good recovery over the previous night, a 7-1 loss in Grande Prairie with the only bright spot a Canucks goal scored in the last few seconds of the game spoiling a shutout bid.
“It was a devastating loss last night, so we weren’t screwing around today, we just went out there and did what we had to do,” said Kole Norris, who had two goals. “We just hit them a lot more [than the night before], and we didn’t play as soft, so that was a huge factor.”
The Canucks actually headed into the first intermission down by one.
Norris started the comeback with a power play goal 6:22 into the second period. Dolan Bjornson scored another power play goal a minute later — three of four C’s goals came on the man advantage.
The other — a shorthanded tally — was scored by Ryan Friesen near the end of the second, giving them a 3-1 lead.
Norris wrapped things up midway through the third with his second of the night, on the man advantage.
Goaltender Kenton White made 36 saves on 37 shots (.973 SV%), with GP having the shot advantage 37-34.
With the win, the Senior C’s take a 3-2 series lead. The next game goes in Grande Prairie Saturday night. With a win Saturday, the Canucks would have a chance to win the series when they return home Tuesday night for game five.
“[We need to] just basically play the same game, get them frustrated, use our speed, get in their zone and pump some goals into their goalie,” said Norris.
Puck drop is at 8:30 pm.
(A video of the fight below. Watch your volume — our reporter was sitting next to the airhorn).