The Bantam Seawolves got their first real taste of a long road trip on Nov. 18, traveling approximately five hours to play against Smithers.
The team bounced back from an early two-goal deficit to win 5-3. Head coach Bruce Watkinson said the effects of the long bus ride affected his team early as they could not generate much of an attack at the beginning of the first period. However, he was happy with how his team responded to the early tone set by Smithers.
“We just told the guys that we got the first period out, we survived, we got rid of the bus legs, now it’s time to go out and play our hockey game,” he said.
The Seawolves found their stride, and was able to execute with speed, physicality and applied pressure on Smithers that yielded to three second period goals. Two of the goals were scored by Ferryn Collins and Aiden Watkinson midway through the period, and Nolan Stava added a third to give the Seawolves a 3-2 lead going into the break.
“Our pressure really, really helped,” Watkinson said.
At the beginning of the third period, two early penalties put the Seawolves at a two-man disadvantage, but the team was able to kill the penalty.
Noah Aceto scored to stretch the team’s lead to 4-2 before Smithers responded to make the score 4-3. Prince Rupert was able to continue creating scoring opportunities and put shots on net until Nolan Stava scored again to make the final score 5-3.
The victory improves the Seawolves record to 2-0 in the Northwest zone. Their next game is a home and away series against Kitimat. Watkinson said the game will be a good indivation of the team’s improvement over the course of the season as the Seawolves have played them close early in the season.
“It’ll be a good measuring stick to see how our team is progressing, how their team is progressing and if we’re at the same level if not a little bit ahead of them,” he said.
Prince Rupert plays Kitimat at the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre Ice Arena on Nov. 25 at 12:00 p.m.