Another close game between the Senior Flyers and the Stony Plain Eagles, and another win for the Eagles.
The Albertans followed up their Saturday night shootout win, with a 4-3 regulation win on Sunday afternoon.
Sunday’s game had a much faster start than had Saturday night’s affair, with a frantic pace for the first 5 minutes. There were few big hits, and a good flow early. But the quick pace wouldn’t last, as both teams seemed to struggle to find the speed and physicality that had characterized the series in November.
Stony Plain would open the scoring, when Blair Hennes outraced Tyler Loney into the Fort St. John zone, and beat Flyers starter Troy Hunt five-hole. After a great cycling shift from the Clayton Bahm line, the Eagles came back the other way, and appeared to take a two-goal lead, on a nicely executed two-on-one, but the goal was called back due to a spearing penalty to Dean Tiltgen behind the play. On the ensuing powerplay, the Flyers would score their first (and only) powerplay goal of the weekend, when Clayton Bahm tipped a Mike Shipton point shot, and then banged home his own rebound, sending the teams into the rooms tied 1-1.
In the first minute of the second period, a loose puck lingered in the Flyers zone, and the defence was unable to tie up Jeff Drummond, who fired it home to put Stony Plain back in front. The Flyers would quickly strike back, when Arlo Hadland made a long outlet pass, to set up a three-on-two, with quick puck movement from newcomer Greg Lakovic, to Tyler Brough, and finished by Dawson Creek native Dustin Kersey.
Soon, the Eagles would break the deadlock for good. On a powerplay midway through the second, the Eagles put some extended pressure on FSJ, resulting in an Adrian Beaudin one-timer from the point, which found it’s way past Hunt and to the back of the net.
Before the period was out, Clem Arsenault streaked past Mike Shipton, and redirected a Tate Locke past Hunt for a two-goal lead.
There was plenty of excitement in the second intermission, when fan Tokey Roberts won the chance to shoot 20 pucks from centre, with a chance at a new car at stake. Roberts seemed to be right on target, and when the dust had settled, fans realized he hadn’t been given his full allotment of pucks. After a brief conference, officials decided he deserved to win, and Brown’s Chevrolet awarded him a new car.
In the third period, the Flyers tried to fight back, and just as they had on Saturday night, they were given several opportunities on the powerplay. But, the chances went awry, and time ticked away.
With 8 minutes remaining, D.C. native Adam Loncan made good on a nice centering pass from Ryan Carter, to put the Flyers within one.
But, despite another powerplay in the final two minutes, that was as close as they would get, and the Eagles would win 4-3.
After the game, coach Adam Brash rated the weekend as another success, though he admitted his team could have played a tighter series. [asset|aid=780|format=mp3player|formatter=asset_bonus|title=abe46d226ed79a9ea5679f3aba868ebf-brash-weekend_1_Pub.mp3]
Brash also wasn’t shy about expressing his disappointment with the powerplay. [asset|aid=781|format=mp3player|formatter=asset_bonus|title=abe46d226ed79a9ea5679f3aba868ebf-brash-pp_1_Pub.mp3]
Likewise, Kip Noble, who said he had a great time playing back in Dawson Creek, but agreed with his coach what the biggest problem had been. [asset|aid=782|format=mp3player|formatter=asset_bonus|title=abe46d226ed79a9ea5679f3aba868ebf-Noble-pp_1_Pub.mp3]
Adam Loncan says it had been about 15 years since playing in his home town. He had fun playing in front of family and friends, but also felt the team got away from what has made it successful in the past. [asset|aid=783|format=mp3player|formatter=asset_bonus|title=abe46d226ed79a9ea5679f3aba868ebf-loncan-style_1_Pub.mp3]
And so, the Eagles return to Alberta, and the Flyers return to the NPHL regular season.
They begin a busy week on Tuesday night, when they visit a plucky Hythe Mustangs team. On Friday night, the blue and white visit Fairview for another division matchup. Then, on Saturday, they return to the NPA, to host the Valleyview Jets.