By Jon Zacks
The Senior Flyers scored twice in the final two minutes, before winning in a shootout, in the first game of a two-game exhibition set against the Prince George Mohawks on Saturday night.
After Prince George’s Mark Nelson scored the first goal of the game on a solo effort five minutes into the second, Tyler Brough (playing for Prince George) added what appeared to be an insurance goal with three minutes remaining in the third.
But, Ryan Carter and Luke Middleton finally beat Mohawks goaltender Lyman Miller, to tie the game up late in the third.
The teams agreed to forgo overtime, and head directly to a shootout, where Ryan Manitowich, Luke Middleton, and Andrew Derton scored for Fort St. John, to clinch the win.
Clayton Pool made his second start in goal for the Flyers, looking comfortable and reliable when called upon, and stopping 3 out of 4 shots in the shootout for his second victory with the team. “I still feel a bit rusty after nine or ten months off the ice, but it’s a lot of fun to get back out there” said Pool of his return to competitive hockey. After playing major junior and collegiate hockey, Pool played five years as a pro in the United States, before returning to his home town of Abbotsford. “It feels good” he said of his return, “it’s exciting to get back on the ice again.”
Flyers Coach Adam Brash glowed about his new goaltender, who he said did a great job on Saturday. “You can tell he’s played some good hockey before. He plays his angles well, he’s calm, and just makes good smart plays.”
Brash wasn’t as positive about the rest of his team, saying his players looked unprepared for the matchup. “Tonight, I just don’t think we were mentally prepared to play. I think they thought [the Mohawks] were short-handed and it would be a cake-walk.”
Brash said the level of play on Saturday was ‘okay,’ though he said the Mohawks had been tougher when they had a fuller bench in MacKenzie two weeks ago. “Nothing was spectacular tonight, except for the last three minutes” he added.
The teams will meet again for Sunday’s game two, starting at 1:30, at the North Peace Arena.
The Flyers are expecting to ice a slightly different lineup on Sunday, likely including a few affiliate players from the Dawson Creek Sr. Canucks, who lost game seven of their NPHL Western division final in Grande Prairie 7-3 on Saturday night.