The Huskies are still undefeated.
The Whitehorse senior men’s hockey team kept their unbeaten streak going with a pair of wins over the Powell River Regals at Takhini Arena over the weekend.
The 6-0 Huskies downed the Regals 10-3 Friday and 7-3 Saturday.
The Regals seemed shell-shocked in the first period as the Huskies jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first 20 minutes of play on Friday.
“We felt pretty good going out there, but then it was just an onslaught,” said Regals acting captain Andy Welsh. “Their first line is just so good. I think they scored five in that first period and we were down 6-0 – there was really nothing we could do.”
“They came off the plane Friday and I don’t think they were expecting to see the team that they saw,” said Huskies head coach Michael Tuton. “They came a little shorthanded, and against this team that we have, with the three lines we’ve got going, that’s not enough.
“We knew if we kept outworking them, outplaying them, and stuck to our game – not get sucked into playing their style of game – we’d come out on top.”
The two AA teams last met as AAA clubs five years ago. They played a best-of-five series for entry into the Allan Cup – Canada’s AAA championship. The Regals took the series in three games.
“I remember playing up here five years ago and they didn’t have that many local guys playing,” said Welsh. “Now they have all locals and they’re talented. They’re going to do well against Fort St. John and hopefully we can see them again at the Coy Cup.
“I think this team now is better than the team that played AAA five years ago.”
The Huskies got their previous four wins against the Fort Nelson Yeti, winning two in December in Fort Nelson and two in Whitehorse last month.
They have now fulfilled the requirement of six regular season games against B.C. AA teams to be eligible for the Coy Cup – B.C.‘s senior men AA championships – which the Regals won in 2010.
The Huskies, who were brought back as a AA team this season after five years of dormancy, will need to beat the Fort St. John Flyers in a series next month to reach the Coy Cup, which is being hosted by Fort Nelson at the end of March.
“We came out so bad in the first period last night – and they were really good,” said Welsh. “They kind of wiped us out. After that, the rest of the five periods were all fairly close.
“They are a really skilled team so we were happy to keep it close and give them a much better game tonight. We weren’t too happy after last night.”
Whitehorse’s Adam Henderson led the charge on Friday, scoring four goals – including the game winner – and providing two assists.
On Saturday, the Huskies had seven different goal scorers.
Henderson finished the series with five goals and five assists. Teammate Kane Dawe scored both games to end with two goals and seven assists. Assistant captain Even Campbell also scored each game to wrap up with two goals and four assists. Drew Pettitt notched two goals and three assists and Simon Nugent logged two goals and two assists.
Other Whitehorse goal scorers from the weekend include: Mike Arnold, Rob Stuckey and assistant captains Derek Klassen and Clayton Thomas.
“I didn’t think after junior I’d get this opportunity, so it’s fun come back and play at home,” said Campbell, who played with the Peninsula Panthers in the VIJHL. “I haven’t played at home since minor hockey.
“A lot of these guys I haven’t played with ever, so it’s good to play with them and become better friends with them. It’s a lot of fun.”
In net for the Huskies both nights was goalie J.J. Gainesforth, who was playing his first at-home starts for the team. Gainesforth also picked up a win in one of December’s games in Fort Nelson.
“Powell River definitely brought their game,” said Gainesforth. “They were flat in the first (period) of the first game and we took advantage in that one. But other than that, they skated with us the whole time, they’re a good club and I thought it was a good series, a good test for us.”
“The first period yesterday is what did them in,” said Campbell. “After that, in the second and third, we only outscored them by one.
“Tonight was another tight one … Our goalie stood on his head there in the third at 5-3. They could have made it 5-4. He made four or five huge saves.”
About 300 spectators attended Friday’s gane and about 400 came out Saturday.
The Huskies are hoping for continued support from Whitehorse fans when they host the Yellowknife Flyers next week on February 13 and 14.
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