The Whitehorse Huskies took a loss Wednesday evening, but the team has nonetheless secured a spot in the playoffs at the Coy Cup in Terrace, B.C.
With a 6-5 loss to the Huskies Tuesday and a 5-3 loss to the Fort St. John Flyers Wednesday, the Smithers Steelheads is the odd team out and have been eliminated from a spot in the playoffs that start Friday at the B.C. AA championship.
Even if Whitehorse loses and Smithers wins in the last round robin games today – putting the teams at two points each – the Huskies will advance to the semifinal with the tie broken by their head-to-head contest.
Best-case scenario for Whitehorse: the Huskies beat the Flyers and Smithers beats Terrace on Thursday. That would make Whitehorse the only team with two wins, giving them a bye to Saturday’s final. (The Flyers and the hosting Terrace River Kings tied 3-3 on Tuesday.)
“We’re still in good shape. We still control our own destiny. We just let one get away from us and the boys are ready to put it behind them and come out fresh tomorrow against Fort St. John,” said Huskies head coach Michael Tuton.
Whitehorse showed their depth in their win over the Steelheads on Tuesday – the Huskies’ first-ever Coy Cup game – with five goal scorers. Forward Kevin Petovello notched two while Kane Dawe, Derek Klassen and Colin Dendys each sent individuals onto the scoreboard. Centre Adam Henderson got the game-winner on a long shot from the wing that found daylight between the pads of Smithers goalie Brandon Highton. Huskies captain Evan Campbell and forward Rob Stuckey helped with two assists in the game, Petovello also had one, and goalie J.J. Gainsforth got the win.
“We outplayed them pretty much to whole game last night,” said Tuton.
On Wednesday the Huskies fell 6-3 to the Terrace River Kings in a rough, hard-hitting game that boiled over into a bit of brouhaha in the second period.
The Huskies drew blood just 58 seconds in on a breakaway by Klassen for a 1-0 lead. But after two first-period goals for the River Kings, the Huskies were fighting a deficit till the end. Rob Warner and Petovello also scored. Forward Ted Stephens assisted all three Whitehorse goals. Huskies goalie Brad Gustafson got his first start since breaking a finger in a series against the Powell River Regals in January.
“Tonight we out played them for much of this one as well, but things got away from us, some calls didn’t go our way,” said Tuton. “But we’re ready to put it behind us and move one. There’s lots of hockey left in this tournament.
“One thing we’ve done well all year is bounce back.”
The Huskies will definitely want to bounce back today against the Flyers – the defending Coy Cup champs. Not only do they need a win for a shot at the bye to the final, they wouldn’t mind a little payback.
“We’re excited to see them. They knocked us out of the playoffs last year and we’ve been waiting a year to get another shot at them,” said Tuton. “We have the roster we wanted to have last year but didn’t, so now it’s time to get her done.”
All Coy Cup games are live-streamed at citywestchannel10.ca.
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