Friday’s game was an entertaining one for the fans, as it was obvious to spectators that there was some animosity between the two teams, which made for a fast paced, hard hitting game.
The Flyers opened the scoring roughly three minutes into the first. After showing some nice patience with the puck, the Flyers newest addition to their blue line, Misko Antisin, hit Dave Burke with a nice outlet pass. Burke, who used his speed well throughout the entire game, entered the Horse Lake zone and fired a shot on net. The puck deflected off a Horse Lake defensemen and passed starting goaltender Dave Larsen, giving the Flyers the early 1-0 lead.
After a big hit by the Flyers caused a bit of a scrum, Horse Lake found themselves on the power play. Unfortunately for the visiting team, it would be the Flyers that would capitalize, thanks to some slick hands by Flyers' forward Jason Deleurme. Antisin showed his impressive vision once again, hitting Deleurme on a nice breakout pass, springing him on a break away. Deleurme made a nice backhand, forehand move, opening up the legs of Larsen, slidding the puck five-hole for a 2-0 Flyers lead.
With less than 4 minutes remaining in the period, Horse Lake cut the lead in half. Chiefs forward Jerry Cunningham found some open room in the slot, receiving a nice pass from Eli Cunningham who was stationed behind the goal line. Jerry Cunningham made no mistake with the puck, snapping it quickly and high glove on Troy Hunt, making it a 2-1 game.
However, before the goal could even be announced, the Flyers answered back, as 15 seconds later, Flyers assistant captain Todd Alexander caught Larsen out of position, banking the puck in off the Chiefs’ goaltender, restoring the two goal lead.
Despite a three goal period, the Flyers were only able to muster 6 shots on net in the opening frame.
With the second period beginning with a 3-1 Flyers lead, it was the Chiefs that once again cut into the lead of the home team. Seven minutes into the second, the Cunninghams would strike again, scoring a very similar goal to their first of the game. This time it was Eli who got the puck in the slot after Jerry made a nice pass from behind the goal line, scoring an almost replica goal of the duos first period marker.
With the score now 3-2, Dave Burke once again used his speed to the Flyers’ advantage, skating quickly into the offensive zone with the puck, and using the defenseman as a screen, firing a hard wrist shot past Larsen. Burke’s second of the game gave the Flyers a 4-2 lead.
With the Flyers leading by two, another short-handed goal made an appearance in the game. This time though, it was the Chiefs that scored while down a man, as with 1:40 remaining in the period, a turnover at the offensive blue line led to a two-on-one against the Flyers. Travis Cunningham received a nice pass on that two-on-one, scoring and cutting the lead to just one goal entering the third.
The third period was one for the Flyers to forget. With a short bench, it was obvious fatigue began to set in for the team. The Flyers only managed six shots on net, while taking a few costly penalties. Six minutes into the third, a centering pass by the Chiefs in the Flyers zone hit a Fort St. John defenseman’s skate, leaving the puck all alone in front of a helpless Hunt, which was banged in by the Chiefs, making it a 4-4 game.
After escaping two penalty kills, it would be the Flyer’s third consecutive penalty that proved to be costly. Horse Lake cycled the puck well with the man-advantage, eventually working the puck down low and jamming it past Hunt for the game-winning-goal.
Despite the three straight penalties, it would be the Flyers’ power-play that would let the team down in the end. Fort St. John was awarded two power-plays in the final eight minutes of the game, but both times were unable to score the game-tying-goal.
Following the 5-4 loss, Flyers head coach Darrel Leahy talked about how he was impressed with the team’s start, but could see their energy level decrease as the game progressed. Coach Leahy said he was impressed with the effort his team displayed, but a few mental errors in the third proved to be the difference.
He also gave credit to a very busy goaltender in Troy Hunt, who played extremely well while facing 42 shots.
Credit was also given to Horse Lake, who Leahy said played a hard fought game, especially in the third period.
The Flyers will look to rebound from this home loss Saturday, Jan.21, when they wrap up their second home-and-home series in Horse Lake. Tune into 100.1 Moose FM to listen to all the live action. The game begins at 8:30, with the informative Moose FM pre-game show beginning 15 minutes before puck drop.