Flyers lose first game in 2017 in Grande Prairie

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GRANDE PRAIRIE, A.B. – The Fort St. John Flyers lost their first game of the 2017 calendar year on the road last night.

The Flyers visited the Grande Prairie Athletics last night, against whom the Flyers were sitting with a 3-1 record prior to last night’s tilt. Both teams came to the rink last night having not lost a game since New Year’s, with Grande Prairie notching wins against Dawson Creek, Falher, and an 11-0 blowout against Spirit River. The Flyers were also coming off a 5-game win streak, including a 10-4 win against Grimshaw last Saturday night, and a 3-2 win over the Dawson Creek Senior Canucks on Tuesday night.

The two teams looked even in the first frame last night. Jeff Shipton scored unassisted to put the first point on the board late in the eighth minute. Not long after that, Brady Busche took a two minute hooking penalty. Just 13 seconds with the man advantage, the Athletics tied things up to make it 1-1 just before the halfway mark of the first. The two teams continued to trade shots, but both goaltenders managed to keep the door shut for the rest of the period.

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In the second, Grande Prairie took the lead with a trio of quick goals. With a 4-1 lead, the Athletics took a checking to the head major in the last five minutes. The Flyers finally managed to answer back with the man advantage. Dan Pappin got the goal assisted by Busche and Brennan Giroux.

In the third period, and down 4-2, the Flyers again capitalized on the power play. Shipton scored his second of the game near the midway mark of the third assisted by Busche and Rick Cleaver. Though Grande Prairie again scored to make it 5-3 with just over five minutes left, the Flyers weren’t done yet. Shipton got a hat-trick with 14.6 seconds left to again make it a one-goal game assisted by Cleaver and Marshall Sidwell. Sadly, the Flyers weren’t able to force overtime, losing on the road 5-4.

The Flyers are taking the weekend off, and will be back in action on Thursday night when they host the Spirit River Rangers. Puck drop at the North Peace Arena is at 8:30.

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