Those of you who have been waiting for some closer games to check out the Flyers – your time has come.
December brings with it a flurry of games against much tougher NPHL competition, after which point the Blue and White will have a much better idea of where they stand, both in the NPHL and as a AAA team.
It begins with a Friday night (Dec. 5th) tilt at home against Fairview. The Kings had a good effort when they hosted Fort St. John last weekend, keeping the game tied until late in the second when the Flyers finally got to goalie Brett Dillman, for a final score of 6-2. Fairview boasts a roster of feisty and talented players, including the team-leading Bondaruk boys, former pro Mike Barrie, as well as Darren Van Impe, who played 411 games in the NHL. They posted a big win a couple of weeks ago, when they handed Spirit River their only loss of the season so far – Fairview’s first win over S.R. since 1999.
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To be successful, the Kings will have to be more disciplined than they have been so far this year. Fairview is averaging 50 minutes in penalties per game so far this year, which is a recipe for disaster against the 38% powerplay efficiency of FSJ.
On Saturday night, the Flyers are in Peace River, to play a Stampeders team hungry for revenge after a 12-2 defeat in November.
Then, on December 11th and 13th, Fort St. John plays a home and home series against the league leading Spirit River Rangers. The Rangers have lost only once this year (9-8 in OT to Fairview), and look like they will likely be the Flyers toughest competition for the league crown.
Being in the same division, the teams will play four times this year, and already look destined to clash in the NPHL West final come playoff time.
The Rangers have a good team, including Mike Lefley (who has notched 37 points in 10 games so far – one off Tyler Shantz’s league lead), Faron Duthie, and Donny Lloyd. They have a powerplay and penalty kill to rival FSJ, and a capable backstop in Matt Yeseminski. The league’s two most penalized players also play for S.R., in Trevor Mazurek and Chad Wilchulski (as of Dec. 2nd).
On December 19th, Fort St. John will look for revenge, when they host Grande Prairie. The Athletics are the only team to beat the Flyers so far this year – on opening night at the NPA. Fort St. John went on to beat the A’s 6-1 two weeks later in G.P., but even that game was closer than many Flyers contests. Athletics goaltender David Larson is their best player, and is capable of stealing games – or at least keeping them close.
FSJ rounds out the month with games in Falher on the 20th, and home vs. Hythe on the 27th.
Fri., Dec. 5 FAIRVIEW
Sat., Dec. 6 at Peace River (live on Moose FM)
Thu., Dec. 11 SPIRIT RIVER
Sat., Dec. 13 at Spirit River (live on Moose FM)
Fri., Dec. 19 GRANDE PRAIRIE
Sat., Dec. 20 at Falher
Sat., Dec. 27 HYTHE