The playoffs should get a little more interesting for the senior Flyers on Sunday night.
After blowing out the Lakeland Eagles in three straight games, by a combined score of 51-16, the Flyers will now get some much stiffer competition, from the Spirit River Rangers.
A late season charge from Grande Prairie saw the Athletics take over second spot in the NPHL west, but there’s little doubt that the (fourth-ranked)Rangers are still one of the top teams in the league. Though Fort St. John won all four regular season matchups, the Rangers have a couple of lines that can score, solid goaltending, and plenty of grit.
It’s the grit that could be the sticking point in this series. There should be plenty of bad-blood remaining from the last meeting between these clubs, when there were four fights, and nearly 300 minutes in penalties assessed. The teams have a history of physical battles, something both teams thrive on.
For the Flyers, the chance to face a tougher team is a welcome challenge, as they look to refine their game heading into the AAA MacKenzie Cup in April. For the Rangers, it’s another crack at an excellent rivalry, and some higher calibre hockey, heading into A provincials. The Rangers advanced to the second round via a quarterfinal sweep of the Hythe Mustangs, and as host, are guaranteed a spot at provincials regardless of the outcome against Fort St. John.
The series promises to be physical and entertaining, starting at the NPA on Sunday night (7:30).