Photo: The Flyers with the Allan Cup following the big win – Adam Reaburn/Energeticcity.ca
By Jon Zacks
The Fort St. John Flyers are champions of Canada.
Facing their arch-rival Bentley Generals in the Allan Cup final on Saturday, the Flyers played 60 minutes of championship hockey, to claim their first national amateur title.
It was the dream final for organizers and fans, as the Flyers took on the defending champs, and the same team that had defeated them in the McKenzie Cup in each of the previous three seasons. After a 7-1 Flyers victory over the Generals in the round robin, the final was a tight and hard-fought war.
The home team drew first blood, when a Flyers clearance skipped past Don Morrison at the Fort St. John blue line, giving Todd Alexander a partial breakaway. With Darren Deschamps giving chase, Alexander beat Generals goaltender Jordan Alford, electrifying the packed North Peace Arena crowd.
With both teams given chances on the powerplay, it was the goaltenders and penalty kills that stood tall, with both the Flyers and Generals stubbornly refusing to concede goal-scoring opportunities. Remarkably, the game would end without a single goal scored on the powerplay, with the Flyers finishing 0/7, and Bentley going 0/5.
Late in the second period, with the Flyers’ top line of Kimbi Daniels, Rod Stevens, and Chris Stevens pressing, Chris Stevens finally broke through, firing the puck past Alford, to double the Flyers’ lead.
Up by two, the Flyers began to retract into a defensive shell, and the Generals fought to get back into the game. Nine minutes into the third, Scott Hood one-timed a Jon Hobson centering pass past Flyers goaltender Clayton Pool to make it a 2-1 hockey game.
With Bentley pressing for the equalizer, Ryan Carter regained the two-goal lead, when he stole the puck from Travis Brigley, and ripped a slap-shot past Alford and just inside the left post.
Finally, with 17 seconds left in regulation time, and Jordan Alford on the bench for the extra attacker, the Flyers cleared their zone, sending Rod Stevens on an easy breakaway, and clinching victory for Fort St. John.
With Alford back in his net, and the outcome decided, Clayton Pool pulled himself from the Flyers goal, to allow Troy Hunt to enter the game, and be on the ice as the final horn sounded, and the Flyers poured onto the ice to celebrate their national championship.
Rod Stevens was named the MVP for the tournament, in what was likely his final game of competitive hockey. “We just believed in each other and worked hard every shift we were out there” he said after the game.
“It’s unreal” said Flyers captain David Alexander of the Allan Cup title, adding “it was just an honour to be a part of it.”
“I knew deep in my heart … that if we could get all cylinders firing with those guys, and get the feet moving, we could not lose” said an ecstatic Flyers Coach Adam Brash, as he clutched his players and coaching staff after the team huddled around the Allan Cup for the victory photo.
Click below to listen to a highlights package from the Moose FM radio broadcast. (runs 3:00)
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Click here for Matt Sales’ complete post-game interviews with the Flyers.
Click here for a complete podcast of Moose FM’s broadcast of the final game.
2010 Allan Cup award winners:
Rod Stevens – Fort St. John
All Star Team
Goalie – Jordan Alford – Bentley
Defenseman – Dane Crowley – South East
Defenseman – Andrew Derton – Fort St. John
Forward – Rod Stevens – Fort St. John
Forward – Sean Robertson – Bentley
Forward – Chris Stevens – Fort St. John
Players of the Game for Saturday’s final:
Bentley – Jordan Alford
Fort St. John – Clayton Pool
Below is a video from the final seconds of the game
In this video the Flyers are presented with the Allan Cup