After digging a deep hole in game one, the Flyers came into game two of the McKenzie Cup determined to play 60 minutes of tight, physical hockey.
It was the Generals who again struck first, when Dion Darling’s original shot was kicked out by Troy Hunt. The rebound fell right to Darling, who was stopped again with a sensational recovery effort from Hunt. But this time, the loose puck bounced off defenceman Luke Middleton, and trickled over the goal line.
But on this night, the Flyers would fight back before the hole was too deep. Paul Wiens got the Flyers on the board, when he jammed home a Brett Loney rebound, and after the first period, the score was tied 1-1.
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After a late penalty to the Generals, the Flyers had 24 seconds of powerplay to start the second period, and they made good, with Ryan Carter bearing down on Rudkowsky. Carter’s shot was stopped, but the rebound was banged in by Adam Loncan, and the Flyers had their first lead of the series. But they wouldn’t stop there. Todd Alexander gave the Flyers a 3-1 lead, when he took a 2-on-1 to the net, and snapped a shot through Rudkowsky, which just trickled over the goal line. The Generals came on in the second half of the second period, but almost got themselves in trouble late, when they allowed consecutive breakaways to Todd Alexander and Tyler Loney. Alexander had the puck roll off his stick when he had Rudkowsky beat, and Loney rang his backhander off the bar, meaning the Flyers still led by just two goals after 40 minutes.
Early in the third, the Flyers would pad their lead. Tyler Brough scored his first goal of the series on a powerplay, when he shoved home a rebound on a Ryan Carter shot. Brett Loney made it 5-1, when he went to the net on a 2-on-1 with Jeff Fast. Like his brother, Brett Loney tried a backhand move in tight, which appeared to be stopped by Ruskowsky, but Loney buried the rebound.
But, the 5-1 lead would soon start to slip away. Don Morrison scored for Bentley, on a Kurt Bensmiller rebound, while Kevin Smyth also batted in a loose puck, to get the Generals back within two with 8 minutes remaining.
But, while Bentley would get another couple of chances on the powerplay, the Flyers would regain their composure, and fend off the Bentley attack. Finally, with Bentley on the PP, Ryan Carter sealed the deal, with a short-handed breakaway goal, for a final score of 6-3 Flyers.
Troy Hunt earned the win in net, playing exceptionally well for 60 minutes. The only pucks that got past him were scrambles in the crease, one of them an own-goal. The Generals outshot the Flyers 32-28, but couldn’t match their output from game one. The special teams battle also swayed in Fort St. John’s favour, with the Flyers 2/8 on the powerplay, and Bentley 2/10, including a short-handed goal against.
Listen to a game two highlights package: [asset|aid=1183|format=mp3player|formatter=asset_bonus|title=05eb9dc2eeae66d401d3d683873a47fa-Flyers vs. Generals Game Two _1_Pub.mp3]
Listen to a post-game interview with Jon Zacks and Flyers coach Adam Brash. [asset|aid=1184|format=mp3player|formatter=asset_bonus|title=05eb9dc2eeae66d401d3d683873a47fa-Adam Brash after Game Two _1_Pub.mp3]
Listen to a post-game interview with Jon Zacks and Flyer Ryan Carter. [asset|aid=1185|format=mp3player|formatter=asset_bonus|title=05eb9dc2eeae66d401d3d683873a47fa-Ryan Carter after Game Two _1_Pub.mp3]
And so, the best-of-five McKenzie Cup is now tied at one game apiece, with the big game three set for Saturday night, at the Red Deer Arena. Listen to that game live on Moose Fm and Energeticcity.ca