As the Flyers / Mustangs game on Saturday got deep into the third period, I was calling Todd Alexander to score the winner. Then it went to overtime, and I changed my pick to Adam Horst. Then it went to a shootout, and you just had to be picking the Mustangs.
And why not? The Mustangs have improved dramatically from the hard-working club we saw last year, after a whole bunch of guys came over from Spirit River. They battled hard that night, and deserved their first-ever win over the tyrants of the Peace. Now, the question you may be asking, is are the Mustangs the new Spirit River Rangers? I was ready to ask Adam Brash that question after the game on Saturday, but he was out of there like the NPA was on fire.
But, whether or not you think the Mustangs can provide the same competition the Rangers used to, or whether their win was just the result of an implosion from the Flyers, I think the loss was an excellent result.
And it’s for the very same reasons any athlete in any sport could tell you. Losing makes you better. Losing makes you hungrier. Losing gives you things to improve on.
The Flyers have some big challenges to overcome this year, but their record against Hythe (or any other NPHL team) is not one of them. They’ve got the challenge of trying to get to the ‘AAA’ level without any ‘AAA’ competition in their league. They’ve got the challenge of the big gap between the end of the NPHL regular season (in early Feb.), and the Allan Cup (in April.). They’ve got the challenge of trying to make a team of part-timers gell in time for the biggest week in Flyers history.
And so, in the scheme of things, the loss to Hythe is no reason to panic. Anyone using it to write off Fort St. John can check out their calendar and see April is still five months away. But, with all the challenges the Flyers face, it can be hard to put things in perspective, and know where to start. Thanks to Saturday, it’s easy. Start by beating them on Thursday, and go from there.
The Flyers aren’t going to win the Allan Cup tomorrow. They’re going to do it the Bob Wiley way. Baby steps. And thanks to Hythe, it’s easy to know which way to point for the first one.