Photo: The Flyers with the Campbell Cup – Your 2009 NPHL Champions – Maurice Trudeau / MT Actions Photography
The Fort St. John Senior Flyers clinched their very first Campbell Cup on Tuesday night, when they beat the Grande Prairie Athletics in game six of the NPHL finals.
The threat of elimination seemed to spark the Athletics, as they broke out of their defensive shell, and forced the play for the first 20 minutes. Jason Jubb opened the scoring, when he took a stunning breakaway pass from Mike Mohr, and beat Troy Hunt with a move to the backhand. About 5 minutes later, the Flyers got on the board, when Bryan Lewis pinched at the point to keep the play alive, and his rebound was converted by David Alexander. Shane Mudryk restored the Grande Prairie lead, when he scored a sharp-angle shot on a powerplay, for a 2-1 Athletics lead after the first.
5 minutes into the second, Matt Shuya fired a shot from outside the blue line, that somehow evaded A’s goaltender David Larson. Shuya’s goal tied the game up, and also seemed to unhinge the normally stellar netminder. Soon after, Arlo Hadland fired a point shot through traffic and into the back of the net. 23 seconds after Hadland’s marker, David Alexander freed up a rebound on a shot from his cousin Todd, which was knocked home by Ian Munro. The Athletics were reeling, while David Larson showed his frustration, hacking at Flyer ankles and trying to upend Dustin Kersey.
The A’s would regain their composure, and Mike Mohr would set up another goal, after some fantastic work along the boards to keep the puck in the Flyers zone, eventually getting it free to Rod Bowers, who beat Troy Hunt, and get Grande Prairie back within one. But, Fort St. John would continue to press. The Flyers scored their only powerplay goal of the game, on a Luke Middleton point shot that may have been deflected by Adam Loncan. In the final minute of the second, Clayton Bahm replaced Paul Wiens who had broken his stick, and found himself on the business end of a Dustin Kersey rebound, and fired it into a yawning cage, for his first goal of the playoffs, and a 6-3 lead after 40 minutes.
Things settled down in the third period, as the Flyers began to protect their lead by dumping and clearing the puck whenever possible. Matt Shuya added his second of the game, when he converted a Clayton Bahm rebound, after David Larson mishandled the puck and gave it away to Jeff Fast. After Shuya’s second, David Larson was replaced by Lincoln Carriere, who didn’t fare much better. After a couple of good saves on his first shots of the game, Jeff Fast beat Carriere, when he roofed a shorthanded breakaway chance. Paul Wiens got his name on the scoresheet, when he made a nice move on Carriere after a sensational pass from Adam Loncan. And, Jeff Fast rounded out the scoring when he knocked in the rebound from a Jeff Shipton shot, on a Flyers two-on-one.
And so, the Flyers would win the game 10-3, to win the series 4-2, and claim the NPHL title for the first time in their history.
Ian Munro was named playoff MVP, and said winning the championship a special feeling. [asset|aid=1149|format=mp3player|formatter=asset_bonus|title=0bb7f5fae90c566536e70ff6d1088419-Munro-Campbell_1_Pub.mp3]
The season isn’t done for either team however. The Athletics will now set their sights on the Senior A/AA provincials in Spirit River starting on Friday. The Flyers will now turn their focus to the MacKenzie Cup, starting on April 2nd.
Listen to a highlights package from game six. (runs 3:00) [asset|aid=1150|format=mp3player|formatter=asset_bonus|title=0bb7f5fae90c566536e70ff6d1088419-Fort St. John-GP-game6 highlights_1_Pub.mp3]
Listen to a post-game interview with Flyers coach Adam Brash. (runs 5:30) [asset|aid=1151|format=mp3player|formatter=asset_bonus|title=0bb7f5fae90c566536e70ff6d1088419-Brash-postCampbellCup_1_Pub.mp3]