The Fort St. John Senior Flyers opened their new season on Thursday night, not with a bang, but a whimper.
The night began with the 2007 Savage Cup Championship banner being raised to the rafters of the North Peace Arena. The small crowd showed their appreciation, but were soon silenced by the first Grande Prairie goal – scored just a minute into the game.
The Flyers soon got their heads in the game, with Paul Wiens scoring a powerplay goal 4 minutes in, and Jeff Shipton scoring moments later to put the Flyers in front. It was Shipton’s first goal as a Flyer, and he says he felt pretty comfortable playing his first game of senior hockey. [asset|aid=535|format=mp3player|formatter=asset_bonus|title=59e0930e2057b8229cb74e9d39764cac-JShip-fun_1_Pub.mp3] Brett Loney was also playing his first game as a Flyer, and though he coughed up the puck to set up Grande Prairie’s first goal, he quickly settled down and looked pretty good.
In the second period, the Flyers took a two-goal lead on a Kip Noble goal from the high-slot, but Grande Prairie soon fought their way back. It began with a Shane Mudryk goal with 7 minutes left in the second. Moments later, Kip Noble was called for interference. The Athletics would get their powerplay going during the Noble minor, with Brennan Jones firing a Garrett Larson rebound past Troy Hunt to tie the game, and give Grande Prairie life.
Early in the third, Matt Alexander took a slashing penalty to give Grande Prairie another powerplay, and again it would prove costly, with Garrett Larson putting the fourth goal past Hunt, and giving the Athletics the lead.
During the next ten minutes, the Athletics would take three more penalties, but the Flyers were unable to score on any of their powerplay opportunites, and a Tyler Loney hook would negate the third. Again, with only 2:17 remaining, the Athletics would take another penalty, this time with Mike Mohr getting called for high-sticking. But again, the Flyers powerplay would come up short, and the game ended 4-3 for Grande Prairie.
After the game, coach Adam Brash said he was disappointed with a great chance missed by Matt Alexander, as well as the infertility of the powerplay. [asset|aid=536|format=mp3player|formatter=asset_bonus|title=59e0930e2057b8229cb74e9d39764cac-Brash-mustScore_1_Pub.mp3]
Brash says with the late start to training camp, conditioning was a big problem for his team, but he still felt it was a game his team should have won. [asset|aid=537|format=mp3player|formatter=asset_bonus|title=59e0930e2057b8229cb74e9d39764cac-Brash-noShape_1_Pub.mp3]
And so, the Flyers lose their home and season opener by a score of 4-3. Their next game will be on the road, this Saturday at Lakeland.