Spirit River opened the scoring early in the first period on the power play, but the Flyers tied the game at 1-1 two minutes later. The score held heading into the second period.
The Flyers took the lead late in the second period with a power play goal of their own, but just over a minute later Spirit River tied the game with a short handed goal.
With the game tied at 2-2 entering the third both teams looked nervous not to make any mistakes but the Rangers would end up netting the game winning goal with 9:37 left in the third period.
Head Coach Gerard Dicaire says despite the loss he doesn’t see home ice advantage being particularly important given what transpired in the regular season.
“It was a good game, it was a decent playoff game. They won it for a reason for a reason last year so they have playoff experience,” he says. “That’s the third time they’ve beaten us in our building and we’ve taken two out of theirs so I don’t think home ice is a big issue.”
Heading into game two on Thursday in Spirit River Dicaire says the the team needs to play better defensive hockey and limit the turnovers.
“Defensive let downs that can be prevented just by thinking a little bit. We had a couple of turnovers there that gave them great opportunities. It’s little things like that, that need to be corrected.”
The difference in the game was when Fort St. John took a 2-1 lead on the power play late in the second, only to give up a short handed goal a minute later.
“After we take the lead it seems to be a trend this year with this team. We’ll get the lead then a minute later we’ll give it back up. The worst part is, is that it was a short handed goal so that stings a little bit even more. They just have to learn that when we’re on the power play that you need to work harder than the penalty killers.
Scoring for the Flyers were Jeff Shipton, and Bryce Novak.
Game two between the Flyers and Rangers goes Thursday night in Spirit River. The series returns to Fort St. John for game three on Sunday at 7:30 p.m.