DAWSON CREEK -- A late penalty call led to the game winning goal as the Grande Prairie Wheelers beat the Dawson Creek Jr. Canucks 3-2 Wednesday night.
Cody Garnett was back between the pipes for the Canucks after taking a shot to the neck on Monday night. Ryan Brausen was in goal for the Wheelers.
Early in the first with the Wheelers on the power play the Canucks drew first blood. Justin McLeod scored a shorthanded goal (from Colter MacLean) at the 2:11 mark putting the home side up 1-0 after the first. Dawson Creek outshot Grande Prairie 21-6 through 20 minutes.
In the second it was close to the opposite. At the 2:29 mark Cordell Shmyr tied things up (from Ben Anderson and Jacob Brown) on a rebound and the score was 2-2 after 40 minutes. Shots in the second were 21-12 in favour of Grande Prairie.
Early on in the third period the Canucks' John Howes to an undisciplined cross checking call putting the Wheelers on the power play. At the 6:48 mark they capitalized on that power play. Jake Goldsmith scored his first of the game (from Cody Atkinson and Jeff McVey) giving the visitors their first lead of the game. Howes immediately found himself at the end of the bench.
Nearly 10 minutes later the Chetwynd product was put back in the game and he delivered. After a scoring chance of his own he carried the puck into the high slot and found Tyson Keen who blasted a shot past Brausen to tie the game up at 2 with less than five minutes to play and that got the crowed going.
The score remained tied into the final two minutes at which point Carl Dahlen was called on a questionable holding call (Safeway turning point) giving the visitors the power play late with a chance to win. For the second time in the game Jake Goldsmith delivered. Goldsmith put home his second of the game (from Cody Atkinson) giving Grande Prairie a 3-2 win and a 1-0 series lead.
Cardinal Telecom three stars: 1) Goldsmith 2) Atkinson 3) MacLean. Jocks hardest working Canuck: MacLean.
Dawson Creek finished 0 for 3 on the power play while the penalty kill went 5 for 7. Shots on goal favored the Canucks 41-36.
Game two of the best of 5 first round series will be played Friday night in Dawson Creek with the opening face-off at 8:00pm MST (DGS Astro Paving Jr. Canucks pre-game show at 7:45pm MST on Peace FM).
Elsewhere around the NWJHL on Wednesday night the Peace River Navigators got a goal from Joel Balfour at the 18:02 mark of the second period to beat the visiting Beaverlodge Blades 1-0 in game one of that series. Thanks to Orren Ford for the updates.