FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — The Fort St. John Flyers won’t be playing any more games in the 2016-2017 NPHL season.
The Flyers hosted the Spirit River Rangers at the North Peace Arena on Saturday night, going into Game 5 with a 3-1 deficit in the best of seven series. It was the Rangers that would get on the board first, scoring just over 7:15 into the game. Though the Flyers had some excellent chances, Rangers netminder Michael Teslak made a number of excellent saves to keep his team ahead. Troy Hunt was also tested on many occasions at the Fort St. John end, stopping 17 of 18 shots in the first. The Flyers managed eight shots on net in the first twenty minutes.
In the second frame, the Flyers finally got on the board over halfway through the stanza. Joey Massingham tied the game at one apiece with 8:30 left, assisted by Josh Bruha and Ryan Carter. This period, it was the Flyers that would outshoot the Rangers by the tally of 17-12. With 55 seconds left in the second, the Rangers got another past Hunt to take a 2-1 lead. However, the Flyers weren’t going to let the momentum shift going into intermission. Massingham scored his second of the night 36 seconds later to once again even the score, assisted by Jeff Fast.
It was an exciting final twenty minutes, as both teams were hungry for a W. Just over nine minutes in, the Rangers once again took the lead. But the Flyers stayed in it, and Ryan Carter tied things up at three on the power play with just over six and a half minutes left. Joey Massingham and Jeff Fast tallied the assists on the third tying goal of the game. Though Fort St. John again outshot Spirit River 15-13, it was the Rangers that would make more shots count. With five seconds left and the game ready to go to overtime, Spirit River’s Alex Curran fired a shot past Hunt to end the Flyers’ season.
The Spirit River Rangers will now face the winner of the NPHL East Division final between the Grimshaw Huskies and the Falher Pirates for the NPHL Championship. The Pirates currently lead that series 3-2, with Game 6 taking place in Falher on Tuesday night.