There was a big crowd on hand for game five between the senior Flyers and Spirit River Rangers on Tuesday night, and those in attendance got treated to a great hockey game.
Ian Munro opened the scoring, when he took the puck off the stick of Tyler Loney and fired it past Matt Yesminski, for a powerplay goal.
Early in the second, the Flyers doubled their lead, when Todd Alexander found his cousin David wide open in front, for another quick goal generated from hard forechecking.
Two minutes later, the Flyers would make it 3-0, when Jeff Fast fed Arlo Hadland, who wheeled down the right hand side, and fired a slp-shot from the top of the circle past Matt Yesminski. The goal would bring to an end Yesminski’s night, as he was replaced by Darin Allen. Yesminski had played brilliantly for most of the series, and was certainly disappointed with the result.
But, the Rangers would fight back. Seven minutes into the second, Luke Middleton hit Riley Jebb, and then the two scrapped. Both would get 5 plus a game for fighting, but Middleton would get the extra two minutes for boarding. On the ensuing powerplay, Colin Lefley led the Rangers on a 4 on 2 down the right hand side, a fired a slap-shot past Hunt, to make it 3-1.
And from there on out, while there was some rough stuff, and chances at both ends, there would be no more goals. Troy Hunt would get tied up with Colin Lefley at the end of the second, and Paul Wiens fought Colin Lefley six minutes into the third.
But, while there had been plenty of bad blood from previous matchups, the teams would mostly stick to hockey, as the Rangers fought to get back in the game. A lot of people were expecting the game to devolve into fisticuffs and shananigans, but it stayed competitive and focused until the final whistle. And after the final whistle, there was a conciliatory handshake that showed the mutual respect between the teams.
After the game, coach Adam Brash said it was the game he had been looking for out of his hockey club. He said after a bit of a slump, he felt a new sense of purpose. "For the first time in three weeks, I came to the rink knowing that this was going to happen tonight." "We played our Flyers hockey tonight," he said, adding "they put up a good fight, but we have the depth, and we shut them down."
Brash was also impressed with his teams’s defence, which allowed very few scoring chances.
Late in the game, leading by two goals, Brash went back to his "kid line" of Jeff Fast, Jeff Shipton, and Clayton Bahm, and says he’s deliberately putting pressure on them in important situations.
Goaltender Troy Hunt got the win for the Flyers stopping 27 of the 28 shots he faced, allowing just one powerplay goal on the night. It was a bounce-back night for Hunt, after a excellent performance in game one, but some struggles in game two. "I got a lot of rest when Chad [Vizzutti] was here, and I knew I’d come back and have a good game." He also gave credit to his team – "I didn’t have to do a lot, we played a little like we did in game one … they didn’t have a lot of quality scoring chances."
Hunt also gave credit to the Rangers, who he fully expected to compete hard.
And so, the Flyers win game five 3-1, to win the best-of-seven series 4-1. They will now await the outcome of the Grande Prairie / Falher series for their opponent in the final.