The Northeast BC and Yukon Trackers put together their best stretch of the season weekend, going 3-0 while on the road and improving to 12-11-0 overall.
The Midget ‘AA’ regional team downed the Sturgeon Mustangs 4-3 Friday evening before knocking off Fort McMurray 3-1 on Saturday and 9-5 on Sunday in back-to-back games against the Barons.
“We were really happy and excited about the weekend, it was the first time we had done that all season, and we just hope it continues into this weekend,” remarked Trackers head coach Brennen Giroux, whose team has now won six straight games dating back to a 2-1 win on Dec. 16 over the Beaumont Braves.
Forward Deon Leer scored twice and Wyatt Gale added two helpers to lead the Trackers over Sturgeon, who play just outside of Edmonton. However, Trackers goaltender Logan Edwards was the difference in the game. He turned aside 38 Mustang attempts as the Trackers were outshot 41-27.
“Our goaltending from [Michael] Chute to Edwards has been solid – it’s really been solid all year – but it’s just now that our team is sacrificing the body to block shots and clear the puck from the zone,” commented Giroux.
Chute got the win on Saturday making 21 saves, and Edwards ended the stretch with 34 stops on Sunday.
With two goals on Saturday and a four-point game on Sunday, Kody McManus ended the weekend with six points to lead the Trackers in scoring. McManus’ linemates Whynot had four points and Leer finished with three goals making them the weekend’s top line.
“They had a great weekend and really stepped up in terms of their playmaking,” said Giroux. “It just seemed like each time they were out there they were making crisp passes and cycling the puck well.
“Overall the team is really starting to sacrifice for each other and get the two points,” he added. “Everybody is really stepping up and sacrificing the body to block shots, keep the puck in deep and take the hits.”
Giroux said next weekend’s home games against North Black Division opponents Peace River and Grande Prairie will serve as a “benchmark for the team” with less than a month left in the regular season. The two clubs lead the third-place Trackers in the standings and likely one, if not both, will stand in the Trackers’ path they will have to take to get past the division finals this postseason.
“We wanted to take this weekend seriously in terms of our upcoming matchups against division rivals Peace River and Grande Prairie,” said Giroux. “Against those top two teams it’s going to be tough and we’re going to have to identify issues they have, of which they don’t have many.”
Division leaders Peace River Royals (15-6-1) face the Trackers on Saturday at 1:45 p.m. in Fort St. John before the Trackers host Grande Prairie (14-9-1) on Sunday at 2:30 p.m.