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Flyers score late to edge Pirates for a 2-0 series lead

#19 Rick Cleaver picking his spot vs the Pirates on March 3rd. Photo by Brady Ratzlaff.
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FALHER, AB. – The Fort St. John Flyers grabbed a 2-0 series lead in the NPHL finals after defeating the Falher Pirates on Tuesday night.

The boys in blue and white allowed the first goal not even a minute into the first period. However, they responded less than two minutes later as Jake Ebner buried a pass from Sam Brennen and Brandon Millin to even the score. The teams skated into the first intermission at 1-1.

The visitors fell behind once again early in the middle stanza but didn’t falter as Rick Cleaver evened the score at 2-2 with 10:35 to play, assisted by Jeff Shipton and Adam Horst. Then with 1:06 left in the period Reid Campbell bulged twine on the power play after some nifty passing between Shipton, Horst and himself to give the Flyers a 3-2 lead heading into the final twenty minutes of action.

The Flyers allowed the tying goal with 1:05 remaining in the third stanza as the Pirates had aspirations to take the game into overtime, but thanks to Cleaver’s seeing-eye shot with twenty-nine seconds left to play, the visitors stole yet another one from the teeth of the Pirates 4-3, assisted by Campbell and Millin.

Cleaver led the charge with a pair of goals, while Shipton, Horst, Campbell and Millin all chipped in with two helpers. Goaltender Travis McLean was solid between the pipes as he made 27 of 30 saves.

“Gutsy win by the guys,” said General Manager Lee Hartman. “Falher has a great fan base and packed the building. The only time it was silent was when Rick Cleaver scored with twenty-nine seconds left. It will be nice to be home Thursday and have a full lineup. Should be a great game for our local fans to enjoy.”

The Flyers lead the series 2-0.

Game 3 is set for Thursday night at the North Peace Arena. Puck drop is at 8:30 p.m

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