FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Fort St. John Flyers edged the Falher Pirates in Game One of the NPHL finals on Saturday night.
The home side found themselves down by a goal within the first three minutes of the game as they tried to shake off the rust from their two-week break. However, with 7:05 to play in the first period Lien Miller-Jeannotte buried a loose puck past an unsuspecting Pirates goaltender while shorthanded to even the score at ones.
The Flyers added to their lead at 4:18 of the middle frame as Adam Horst took a pass from Rick Cleaver in the slot and fired home a quick wrister on the powerplay. Horst scored his second of the period ten minutes later once again on the man advantage as he tapped in a rebound off a shot from Cleaver and Reid Campbell. The visitors got that one back thirty seconds later to cut the lead to 3-2 and the second intermission.
In a back and forth third stanza the Pirates tied the game up once again after capitalizing on a Flyers turnover in the neutral zone midway through the period. As both teams remained deadlocked at 3-3 after 60 minutes of action, as overtime was required to decide a winner in this contest.
After a Pirates forward got caught trying to play the puck with a broken stick the Flyers took advantage as Horst scored his hat-trick goal at on the power play at 7:02 of the extra frame. He fired home a loose biscuit from in tight off a shot from Daylen Pearson and Cleaver after some excellent puck movement, to give the Flyers a 4 to 3 victory in overtime.
Horst led the charge with three powerplay goals while Cleaver was dishing all night with three helpers. Goaltender Travis McLean made 34 of 37 saves.
“We played some good defence tonight,” said head coach Andrew Leriger. “We are playing a team that was playing river hockey in the last two weeks and averaging 10 goals and 50 shots per game. I thought we did a great job of cutting down the chances and other than a couple of turnovers we played a pretty sound Game One.”
Game Two of the finals is set for Tuesday night in Falher. Puck drop is at 8:30 p.m.