Athletics End Losing Streak
The Grande Prairie Athletics snapped a 9 game losing streak to Spirit River by rallying to beat the Rangers 4 to 3 in a shootout Saturday night.
Trailing by a goal for the better part of the game the A’s managed to tie it with just under 7 minutes to go in the third period on a goal by newcomer Sam Paquet.
Overtime would solve nothing and it would take 8 rounds of the shootout before Adam Novakowski slipped one past Spirit River netminder Alex Wright to seal an important two points for the Athletics.
The win comes at a much needed time for Grande Prairie as they have struggled mightily against the Rangers dating back to last year. Heading into Saturday nights game the A’s had lost 9 straight to Spirit River.
An entertaining game to say the least as fans who braved the cold Alberta weather were treated to another typical hard fought game between these two teams.
Grande Prairie would open the scoring in the first when forward Rod Bowers shot found it’s way into the back of the net. The early lead would be the last as the A’s found themselves chasing for most of the night.
Spirit River captain Mike Lefley would tie the game two minutes later when he found himself in alone behind the Grande Prairie defense before burying short side on A’s starting netminder Darren Walker. Just over a minute later Rangers rookie Khalen Marsolais would find himself in alone as well after an A’s turnover in the neutral zone.
Spirit River would outshoot Grande Prairie 15 to 8 in the opening period and carry a 2 to 1 lead into the intermission.
The second period would see much of the same back and forth. Grande Prairie tied it on Lyndin Lewis powerplay goal before Marsolais would put the Rangers up once more heading into the intermission.
Teams traded chances in the third before Paquet tied it which would set the stage for overtime and the eventual shootout winner from Novakowski.
Despite being outshot 50 to 24 and icing just 13 skaters Grande Prairie salvaged an important two points.
Grande Prairie still trails in the standings by three points and the season series 2 to 1 after Spirit River won earlier in the week on Thursday. Both clubs won’t see each other again until the new year when they meet on January 8th for their final regular season match up.
The A’s now look to next week with two more games Friday and Saturday versus Falher and Grimshaw.
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