The old hockey adage “your goalie is often your best penalty killer” proved true to its meaning Sunday night in the Dawson Creek Rage’s second game of their double-header with the Alaska Avalanche.
With goaltender Edward Dyson between the pipes the Rage were able to preserve an early 2-0 lead that would eventually culminate in a 4-1 victory over the Avalanche, the top team in the West division standings with a 23-10-3 record.
“He [Dyson] was really good tonight,” said Head Coach Scott Robinson. “I thought he was good last night [Saturday], but tonight he was that little bit sharper.”
Dyson stopped 30 of the 31 shots the Avalanche took including a barrage of good chances during a penalty kill late in the second period to allow his team to take a 2-0 lead into the third period.
“I think he made a half-dozen really big difficult saves to help us when it was close, and we need those things to happen,” said Robinson about his goalies play.
But that’s not to say the guys in front of Dyson didn’t step up their game, the Rage win was a total team effort that Robinson was proud to see after their performance Saturday.
“Everybody was involved, and we just played a far better team game,” said Robinson. “It was probably our strongest game of the year consistency wise and our battle level was really high and that made the difference.”
The Rage opened the scoring when Carter Page buried one in the wide-open cage during a scramble in front of the Avalanche net three minutes into the second period.
Just over two minutes later Page replied with another goal assisted by Shawn Mueller and Tyson McCallum, and this time on the power play after an Avalanche player took a reckless roughing minor.
Then it became the Dyson hour, after Keenan Bailey of the Rage went to the box for hooking, the net minder turned aside several good Avalanche opportunities to keep Alaska at bay.
The Rage would add another tally when McCallum snuck one by the Avalanche goalie on a one-timer from the circle.
Alaska peppered Dyson with 14 shots to the Rage’s six in the final twenty minutes but only solved the Rage goaltender once during their comeback attempt.
In the dying minutes the Rage found themselves on the power play to close out the game squashing any hopes the Avalanche might have had to draw even, and with a second left Ryan Mathews scored the exclamation point with an empty netter, sending the local supporters into a frenzy.
The Rage will look to continue their winning ways next weekend as the Wenatchee Wild roll in to town for a triple-header starting Friday, Jan. 13.