Scoring first is usually a recipe for success, but this wasn’t the case over the weekend for the Dawson Creek Junior Canucks.
After leading 1-0 in the first period against the North Peace Navigators in game one of the second round playoff matchup Saturday night, Canucks fell 4-2 on the road. The afternoon after at home, the Canucks went into the third period with a 3-2 lead, only to lose 6-4.
“Each game, we’ve played a good 40 minutes, but we haven’t played 60 yet,” says head coach Gene Cooper.
“I’ve gone through this many times with the boys on being more defensively aware, and it’s just not getting through to some of them.”
Trey Nichol opened the scoring for the Canucks Saturday night with a shorthanded goal just 1:24 in. Nearly as fast in the second period, however, the Navigators took the lead never to give it back, scoring 24 seconds and 3:12 in to the second frame.
With 11 seconds left in the second period, the Navigators added one more to take a 3-1 lead heading into the intermission.
“We failed to show up for the second period,” says Cooper.
Griffin Young got on the board for the Canucks at the five minute mark in the third period, but North Peace put up another goal to take it 4-2.
On Sunday afternoon, the Canucks got off to an even better start, putting up three goals in the first 11 minutes to take a 3-1 lead into the intermission. The Navigators nabbed a shorthanded goal in the second period, which would turn out to be the first of four straight goals for the visitors.
Nichol, scoring his second of the game, put the Canucks within one in the third period, but an empty netter would dash all hopes of a comeback.
“3-2 lead going into the third period, there’s no excuses,” says Cooper. “We failed to do our jobs as a group, and that’s to defend a lead.
“That game was for us to win, but we chose not to.”
Cooper explains that the key to winning the series is put up more shots, and to keep the shots against low. In the first game, the Canucks were outshot 32-24, but on Sunday they outshot the Navigators 37-33.
“We’ll win, there’s no doubt about it in my mind, it’s just what it’s going to take to get it through to the rest of the boys and the team.”
The teams tangle Wednesday night Feb. 28 in Peace River before heading back to DC for a Friday night tilt.