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Flyers defeat Athletics, remain perfect in playoffs

#18 Jake Ebner beating Athletics netminder Darren Walker high over the glove side on Feb.6th. Photo by Brady Ratzlaff.
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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Fort St. John Flyers remained perfect in playoff action as they defeated the visiting Grande Prairie Athletics on Tuesday night.

The home side dug themselves a hole early as the Athletics built a 2-0 lead, but the Flyers didn’t waiver as Jeff Shipton tipped in a Payden Wongstedt point shot with 6:22 to play to cut the lead in half, Rick Cleaver with the secondary assist. Four minutes later on the powerplay, Jake Ebner fired a laser past a screened Athletics netminder Darren Walker to tie the score at 2-2, assisted by Joey Massingham. However, a later goal by the visitors gave them the advantage heading into the first intermission.

Ebner evened the score 1:53 into the middle frame after finishing off a perfectly executed two on one with Daylen Pearson, Brandon Millin with the secondary helper. Shortly after on the man advantage Pearson buried a loose puck from the slot off a point shot from Reid Campbell and Ebner for the 4-3 tally. Robbie Sidhu capitalized on another odd-man rush with Lien Miller-Jeannotte after taking a pass from Massingham in the neutral zone seven minutes later. Cleaver scored a powerplay goal with 5:30 to play as he fired a puck into an empty cage after some slick passing between Shipton, Adam Horst and himself for the 6-3 tally. Travis McLean stopped all 27 shots he faced in the second period.

The Athletics got one back midway through the final frame but the Flyers responded twenty seconds later courtesy Miller Jeannotte who put the biscuit in the basket after accepting a saucer pass from Massingham in the slot to conclude the scoring at Flyers 7 – Athletics 4.

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Cleaver, Ebner and Massingham combined for nine points in the contest while McLean made 54 of 58 saves.

“I like the way we responded today after the first period,” said head coach Andrew Leriger. “We were very opportunistic on a team that likes to play offence and we exposed their lacking defensive play tonight. It’s a great win that moves us to 3-0 so far this postseason.” Travis [McLean] stood on his head once again.”

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The Flyers are now three points up on the second place Athletics with five games remaining in the West Division’s playoff round robin schedule.

Next up for the team is a trip to Dawson Creek on Thursday for a clash with the Senior Canucks. Puck drop is at 8:30 p.m.

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