Flyers drop first game of NPHL West Division Final to Rangers

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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — The Fort St. John Flyers didn’t get the start they were hoping for in the first game of the second round of the NPHL playoffs last night.

Taking on the Spirit River Rangers at the North Peace Arena, it was the Rangers that were all over the Flyers from the start of the first period. The Rangers got things started just 3:50 into the game, putting the puck past netminder Travis McLean. In the next eight minutes, the Rangers would score three more, chasing McLean from net as they took a 4-0 lead. Backup Troy Hunt went in between the pipes, but the Rangers took a 5-0 lead just a minute and a half later. The Flyers would finally get on the board with 1:44 left in the stanza. Brady Busche scored on the power play assisted by Jeff Shipton, but the Flyers trailed 5-1 after twenty minutes. Shots on net in the first were 15-12 in favour of Spirit River.

Both teams had some solid net minding at both ends in the second period, with both teams bringing their defensive ‘A’ games. Shots on net were 10-6 for the Flyers in the second, with Fort St. John going 0-for-2 on the power play.

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The Flyers came out with a spark in the third, As Adam Horst cut the Rangers’ lead to 5-2 just 1:11 into the frame, assisted by Rick Cleaver. Close to the midway mark of the stanza, it was the Rangers that answered back with a pair of goals to make it 7-2. Arlo Hadland brought the Flyers once again to within four points, scoring just before the eleven minute mark on the power play assisted by Jeff Fast and Ryan Carter. However, the Rangers got another power play goal of their own in the final four minutes, killing any chance of a comeback by Fort St. John. Final score was 8-3.

The Flyers are back in action on Saturday night, when they head to Spirit River for Game 2 of the series. Puck drops at 8:30.

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