The Dawson Creek Junior Canucks (14-7-2) kick off the 2009 portion of the NWJHL schedule tonight when they entertain the Sexsmith Vipers (3-19-0) at the Memorial Arena. Game time is 8:00pm PST and can be heard live on Peace FM 94.5/104.1FM.
The Dawson Creek Junior Canucks closed out 2008 in Whitecourt on December 20th. It was the second of a two game weekend which saw them beat Beaverlodge 5-1 the night before.
The game didn't start out the way the visitors had hoped as Jeff Chalifoux found the back of the net just 47 seconds into the game and Whitecourt led 3-0 after the first. In the second the Canucks came to life dominating the home side but only finding the back of the net once. At the 1:25 mark Charles Radke made a beautiful move to walk right around Wolverines Captain Ryan Hore before scoring to make it 3-1. A pair of Wolverine goals in the third would round off the scoring making the final 5-1.
Head to head:
The Canucks and Vipers will meet for the fourth time this season tonight and Dawson Creek holds the edge thus far. The season series, to date, has the Canucks up 2-1 with the last meeting a 7-2 Dawson Creek victory. Here is a breakdown of the season series games:
Oct. 31 @ Sexwmith: Dawson Creek 7 Sexsmith 2
Nov. 29 @ Dawson Creek: Sexsmith 5 Dawson Creek 4
Dec. 5 @ Dawson Creek: Dawson Creek 6 Sexsmith 2
Jan. 3 @ Dawson Creek
Jan 9 @ Sexsmith
Dawson Creek only has a 2-1 edge in wins but holds a 17-9 edge in the goal department. If this game comes down to special teams the Vipers may have a chance. Five on five so far this season has been played mostly in the Vipers' zone.
Charles Radke has 7 points (2g 5a) in his last 4 games since coming off of injury.
Jason Higson also has 7 points (3g 4a) in the past 4 games and continues to produce chances.
Carl Dahlen had a goal and two helpers in Beaverlodge (the last time he stepped on the ice).
What to expect:
The Canucks hope to avoid starting 2009 the way that 2008 ended. Having a healthy Charles Radke will sure help as lately we haven't seen much of the Radke, Colter McLean, Reid Smith trio. When they have been together they have been dominant at times.
The Canucks are a much more skilled team than are the Vipers but both teams have seen a lengthy break over the holidays. Tonight's game, in my opinion, will come down to who can put away the turkey and get the legs going.
See you at the rink!