Quesnel Crossfire put up a bunch of goals early and hung on to beat the Prince George Devils by a tally of 8-5 in the second game of their season at West Fraser Centre on May 3.
Chase Ballendine led the charge with a hat trick and added a couple of assists to pace the Crossfire to their first win this year.
“We held it up strong,” Ballendine says of the team’s performance, a game removed from a tough loss to the Prince George Bandits the week prior.
“Kind of let it go at the end, but we were tiring out. We’re pretty out of shape to start the year, but we’ve only played two games and we’ll get better.”
The local team’s new goalie, Jesse Deagle, also shone during the game, turning back many of the Devils’ surges.
“He held his ground out there and played amazing,” says Ballendine of Deagle, who was wearing #33 and looking like a Montreal Canadian great who shared the digits.
Of note was the Crossfire’s ball movement. Stagnant and inconsistent against the Bandits, it was far more fluid on the night, as they looked to wake up from their winter slumber.
They did take their foot off the gas in the third and the Devils smelled blood, turning a 7-2 match into a 7-5 contest at the halfway mark of the final period.
With three minutes left, the Devils hoped to get within one while on a power play.
It wasn’t in the cards, however, as the Crossfire’s #88, William Pagurat, charged up the centre of the arena like a man possessed, flinging defenders off of him and feeding Keaton Reichert for the safety net marker.
The Devils’ Josh Gillin says the team has a few tweaks to make in order to get back to the form that won them the league last year.
“It’s the little things,” he says.
“You know, hustling in the corners, looking for ‘loosies’ and things like that.
“Just finishing plays.”
The Crossfire was also victorious in its most recent game, besting the Mackenzie Lumberjacks in an away tilt 13-6, while the Devils lost their weekend match against the Bandits by a score of 8-7.