FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — The Fort St. John Flyers have halved the Spirit River Rangers’ series lead in the NPHL West Division Final.
In Game 3 at the North Peace Arena last night, it was the Flyers that were causing issue for the Rangers from the get-go. Jake Ebner opened the scoring for Fort St. John just before the halfway mark of the first period on the power play, assisted by Bryan Lewis and Joey Massingham. However, the Rangers’ Cory Littman tied things up less than thirty seconds after Ebner’s goal before adding his second of the game 1:45 later. With just under four and a half minutes remaining, Flyers captain Jeff Shipton tied the game at two apiece with the man advantage, assisted by Adam Horst and Brady Busche. In the dying seconds of the first, Spirit River tallied their third of the game going into the dressing room for the first intermission.
In the second frame it was all Flyers, as Rick Cleaver tied the game just ten seconds in, after a great play from Horst and Shipton to set it up. Just past the five minute mark of the second, Brennen Giroux got the go-ahead goal with Ebner and Busche tallying assists. GIroux’s goal would end up being the game-winner, as the Rangers’ scoring machine that appeared in Games 1 and 2 appeared to get a flat tire. Rangers’ goaltender CJ Wass was pulled in favour of affiliate player Tyler Boe, who backstopped the Sexsmith Vipers against the Fort St. John Huskies in the NWJHL playoffs last week. The Flyers’ defence only allowed five shots on net from the Rangers in the period, while their offence was churning out the shots. With two and a half left in the second Ryan Carter made it 5-3 Fort St. John, assisted by Josh Bruha. The Flyers’ lead increased to 6-3 with 28 seconds left on the clock, after a power play goal from Adam Horst. Cleaver and Busche assisted on the goal.
In the third, the Rangers increased the number of shots on net, but still weren’t able to add to their goals tally. Bryan Lewis scored the Flyers’ seventh of the game on the power play just prior to the ten minute mark, assisted by Massingham and Daylen Pearson. With only 2:05 showing on the clock, the Rangers’ trainer was tossed from the bench after getting both a Game Misconduct and a Gross Misconduct penalty. The Flyers won the series’ third game 7-3. Game 4 against the Rangers will take place Thursday night in Spirit River at 8:30 p.m.