Mustangs shock Flyers

"Huge” 

 

That’s how Marty Jones described his team’s win, moments after he scored the lone goal of the shootout to help the Hythe Mustangs beat the Flyers in Fort St. John on Saturday night.

 

It gave the Flyers their first loss of the season, and first to the Mustangs, one that’s particularly stinging because Fort St. John had led the game by three goals. 

 

The game began routinely enough, with Ian Munro scoring the first goal three minutes in, to bring a deluge of Teddy Bears streaming onto the ice. 

 

Soon after, Matt Shuya went after his long-time rival Colin Lefley, when the players exchanged blows to the head.  Shuya dropped his gloves and began to fight Lefley, and though the Mustang never dropped his gloves, both players were ejected for fighting.

 

Jeff Shipton extended the lead on the powerplay, when he deflected a Kip Noble point shot, giving Noble his second of three assists on the game.  Donny Lloyd gave the Flyers a 3-0 lead heading into the first intermission, when he fired a point shot that eluded Mustangs starter Darren Walker.

 

But, in the second period, the Mustangs threw caution to the wind, and began to claw back into the game.  Bob Balderson broke the goose-egg 2 ½ minutes into the second frame.  Five minutes later, Kip Noble send Adam Horst in on a breakaway, to regain the three-goal lead.  “It was a beautiful pass” Horst said, “I was just happy I could put it in the back of the net.”

 

But the insurance wasn’t enough.  Balderson’s second of the game found its way through Flyers goalie Scott Baker’s legs.  In the final three minutes of the period, Hythe tied the game on a pair of powerplay goals. 

 

The third period saw the Mustangs continue to force the play, and earned an array of quality scoring chances.  Scott Baker recovered from shaky second period and made several clutch saves, but the Flyers couldn’t muster any offence, and the game went into overtime. 

 

After a scoreless extra-frame, and five misses in the shootout, Marty Jones provided the heroics when he beat Scott Baker low to the stick side.   When I first grabbed the puck, it was hopping all over the place, I didn’t know what to do” Jones said after the game.  “We’ve been scoring low on him all night so I just went in and shot and scored – It’s huge for us.”

 

Despite a couple of calls that didn’t go their way, and an opponent stacked with talented hockey players, the Mustangs refused to back down, and scored a memorable victory for a young team.  After impressing in their inaugural campaign last season, the Mustangs picked up several players from the folded Spirit River Rangers, and look ready to compete with the Flyers all season long.  “I see us up in the top” suggested Marty Jones of his team.  “Obviously some huge additions” he said, pointing to the Lefley brothers and Riley Jebb, adding “We’re excited for the year.”

 

In defeat, Adam Horst suggested his team hadn’t underestimated Hythe.  Rather, he said the Flyers were responsible for their own fate.   “We know they can play good, we know they’re probably our best competition.”  “They’ve got a lot of great players over there that are fast and can move the puck – we just didn’t do a good enough job of containing them.”  For Horst, it was a simple lesson learned.  “We’ve got to stay out of the box” he said.