FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — The Fort St. John Senior Flyers have taken their first step of the post-season towards the North Peace Hockey League championship.
The Flyers hosted the Dawson Creek Senior Canucks last night at the North Peace Arena in Game 1 of the NPHL West Division semi-finals. Fort St. John opened the scoring in last night’s playoff game. Rick Cleaver took a pass from Adam Horst and Joey Massingham before putting it past Dawson Creek netminder Josh Round less than four minutes in, in what was a fairly quiet period. Officials only called two penalties, and shots on goal were 9-8 in favour of the Flyers.
Things got a lot more lively in the second frame. The Sr. C’s tied things up just over a minute and a half into the second. While shorthanded, Cleaver answered back with his second of the game to regain the lead for Fort St. John, assisted by Horst two and a half minutes after Dawson Creek’s first goal. Just before the thirteen minute mark, Cleaver and Brady Busche fed Horst, who added some insurance for the Flyers. The Sr. Canucks then moved to within one once again with 2:34 left to play. Just over thirty seconds later, Dawson Creek’s John-Wayne Howes was assessed a check to the head penalty. Fort St. John’s Cody Hildebrand took exception to the high hit, and dropped the gloves with Howes. Neither team ended up short-handed, as Hildebrand’s Instigator penalty negated Dawson Creek’s 2 minute minor for checking to the head.
In the third, the Sr. Canucks tied things up 25 seconds in, before Horst scored his second of the game assisted by Cleaver and Marshall Sidwell with 10:10 left on the clock to regain FSJ’s lead. With 3:24 left in the third, Cleaver and Massingham fed Horst, who scored a hat-trick for the insurance. The Sr. Canucks ended up scoring once more to get to within one in the last minute, but the Flyers held on for the 5-4 win to take a 1-0 lead in the best of seven series.
Game 2 of the best-of-seven series will take place tomorrow night at the Dawson Creek Memorial Arena. The puck drops at 8:30.