The Fort St. John Flyers hadn’t played in a hockey game in over two weeks prior to last night’s matchup against the Spirit River Rangers, and in the early stages it showed. They were behind in shots 17-4 after the first but managed to stay in the thick of things throughout and eventually won in a shootout due in large part to the work of goalie Troy Hunt.
Despite being outshot heavily in first period it was the Flyers who held the lead at 1-0. In the second play was a bit more even, however the Rangers were able to score a couple of times in the stanza. The Flyers had one of their own as the game was tied at two heading into the third.
With just over four minutes left in regulation it appeared as though the Flyers were going to win as Tyler Loney skated in from the blue line to go around a few Rangers defenceman and pot the Flyers third goal on an outstanding individual effort. However nearly two minutes after the Rangers were able to tie things once again.
Having played a strong game through 60 minutes it was Troy Hunt who really elevated his game in overtime and the shootout. He made a number of big saves from in close while the Flyers were killing off a penalty, and turned aside six of seven attempts in the shootout by the Rangers.
After the emotional win head coach Andrew Leriger was frank in his assessment of the game saying if it wasn’t for the goaltending the Flyers would likely have been blown out of the building.
“Troy Hunt was the reason we even had an opportunity to win that game. If it wasn’t for Troy tonight we would have been blown out of the rink,” he said.
With another game tonight and two practices next week Leriger is hopeful his club will be able to get their feet back under them.
“We got lucky. I’ll take the win. Our guys are severely out of game shape right now just because we haven’t had any ice. Hopefully playing back to back it will help a little bit. We’ll have a couple of practices next week to get the guys going again and back in rhythm,” he said.
Talking about his body of work on the night Hunt said he needed to step up while his teammates in front of him were trying to get rolling, and as the game continued they rewarded him with some goal support.
“The first period was a bit of a barnburner for them. They took it to us pretty much the whole 20 minutes. Sometimes as a goalie if you’re having a decent night those are the best periods because you can’t get out of your groove. I did my part and the boys picked me up in the second half and played a way better game,” he said.
Scoring for the Flyers were Josh Bruha, Rick Cleaver, and Tyler Loney. Netting the winner in the shootout was Robbie Sidhu.
The Flyers are back at it again this evening, this time they’ll be in Grimshaw to skate with the Huskies.