Special to The Tribune/Advisor
After putting together a great and then a good game, Williams Lake comes home 0-2 in league play, and will need to sweep their final league games in February to have any hope of having home-ice advantage in the playoffs.
On the road in Prince George, the Wolves played a solid game. Unfortunately, it was the PG Cougars who scored with a first period marker and a late second period marker creating a two-goal deficit.
A comeback seemed imminent, when Justin Bond, in his first game back from a broken shoulder, appeared to half the lead when he buried a shot on a breakaway into the back bar of the net.
The ref, however, saw differently, and deemed the puck to have hit the crossbar, leaving Williams Lake down two with an inadequate amount of time to equalize.
“We played solid, but to win hockey games you need to score goals,” remarked forward Josh Novakowski on the 2-0 shutout loss.
“The defensive effort was good, and we outshot them 39 – 24, but that doesn’t matter. In the end, it’s impossible to win without scoring.”
Bond added, “We have to stop shooting at the goalie’s chest. We gave Hinsche and French [the PG goalies] some saves. They played well, but we should have buried more.”
In the second game, Williams Lake again conceded early, but Ezra Oosting bursting through on a partial breakaway tied the game.
A defensive zone giveaway cost Williams Lake again, but Jacob Chamberlin, Ezra Oosting and Tristan Sailor combined for a pretty equalizer.
An own goal off a tip in front re-established Prince George’s lead, but a point shot from Cory Sterritt pulled Williams Lake level again. A two-on-one late in the second frame for Prince George caused controversy when their player seemed to kick the puck into the net. After deliberation, the goal was awarded to PG and Williams Lake headed to the dressing room down a goal.
A tense third period saw 37 penalty minutes handed out to the two teams, including a major and a game misconduct. With time ticking down, Williams Lake played with sustained pressure for nearly three minutes.
The equalizer nearly came when, with 20 seconds remaining, Ezra Oosting rang a shot from the slot off the right post. A scramble in front of the net in the dying seconds failed to produce a tally, and Williams Lake fell 4-3. “We played well but the end result wasn’t in our favor. We just need to look forward at our next games, and start putting together the wins,” said captain Benn Taylor.
Williams Lake is finally home for 5 games this weekend at their home tournament after playing 24 out of their 27 games on the road. On Friday, Williams Lake faces Quesnel at 3:30 p.m. and Fort St John at 8:00 p.m. Saturday morning at 10:15 a.m. pits Williams Lake against Terrace, and an afternoon date with the Salmon Arm Silvertips rounds out Williams Lake’s round robin.
The team is doing a food drive, and spectators are asked to bring a non-perishable food item to the rink for donation.
The playoff portion of the tournament will take place on Sunday.
Darien Grace is a team member with the Williams Lake Midget Timberwolves.