The Flyers were up to the AAA challenge brought before them on Saturday night.
Saturday marked the beginning of a two game exhibition tournament in which the Fort St. John Flyers would play the AAA Prince George Mohawks. The tournament was set up so the Flyers could begin experiencing AAA hockey, before taking place in this year’s Savage Cup.
Despite the increased pace, the Flyers were able to secure a 4-3 victory over the Prince George Mohawks on Saturday night.
The game began at a much faster pace than Flyers games usually do. However, rather than get discouraged, the Flyers embraced the new level of intensity and got off a great start to the game.
It only took 32 seconds for Fort St. John to score the game’s opening goal. Tyler Loney blasted one from the point and Flyers captain David Alexander fought hard for positioning in front of the net, firing the rebound past the Prince George goalie.
The Flyers kept the pressure coming, as only two minutes later, took a two nothing lead in the game. Jeff Fast made a nice pass from behind the Prince George net to Jeff Shipton, who was wide open in the slot. Shipton made no mistake, taking a quick wrist shot and beating Prince George goaltender, Guy Walch, over the glove hand.
Although, the first period did see Prince George tie the game up. Both goals scored by the Mohawks were put in off rebounds given up by Clayton Pool. Pool is not the regular goaltender for the Flyers, but gets the start when the team takes on AAA opponents.
The second period saw a lack of scoring chances from both teams, despite the heavy amount of shots behind fired at both goalies. The Flyers were unable to capitalize on a five on three power play and even had a goal disallowed because the referee was unable see the puck cross the goal line. Thirty three seconds after that, Flyers Mitch Strang wrang one off the cross bar.
Just when it looked like the Flyers couldn’t buy a goal, Prince George took a holding penalty with 2:43 left in the second, with Dawson Creek call ups Kip Noble and Chris Stevens making an impact for the Flyers. Some nice passing by Flyers point men Kip Noble and Donny Loyd, allowed Stevens to position himself in the slot. Noble passed the puck to an open Stevens, who ripped one high blocker on Mohawks goalie.
The third period started with the Flyers up 3-2, but Prince George was able to tie the game up on yet another goal put in off of a rebound. Then the penalties began to add up, with both teams finding themselves short handed on numerous occasions.
However, it would be the Flyers penalty kill that would provide the games winning goal. With the Flyers short handed because of a roughing penalty, captain David Alexander would find himself on a short handed two on one. Alexander kept the puck, firing it high glove past the Mohawks goalie for his second of the night and the game winning goal.
In speaking with Kip Noble after the game, he discussed how the pace did seem faster than a regular game. He explained that this level of speed is usually only seen with one or two lines in a regular game and it’s different when all four lines can play at this intensity.
Noble, who played for Fort St. John during their Allan Cup winning run, said it felt good to put on the white and blue jersey and play with his old teammates again.
The Flyers also got reacquainted with their old teammate, Tyler Brough, who was wearing the captain C for the Prince George Mohawks. Noble gave nothing but praise for his told teammate and said that he’s happy for Brough, who Noble feels is a catalyst and a leader for his new team.
Sunday afternoon will see the round two between Fort St. John and Prince George.