Photo: The Flyers honoured Gary Alexander, Jim Anderson and Rod Fonteyne on Tuesday night – Adam Reaburn/Energeticcity.ca
By Jon Zacks
The Flyers faced some adversity, but came from behind to defeat the Clarenville Caribous 6-3 on Tuesday night.
Trailing by one in the second intermission, the Flyers charged out of the gate in the third to claim the victory, clinch first place overall in division two, and advance directly to the Allan Cup semifinals.
The Flyers opened the scoring just 11 seconds into the game, when a Ryan Carter slap-shot ripped right through the top corner of the net, before a stunned Jason Churchill could even break a sweat.
But despite the Flyers’ quick start, and their convincing win over the Bentley Generals on Monday night, the Newfoundlanders remained undaunted, and fought their way back into the game. Six minutes into the first, Brad Crann snapped a big rebound past Troy Hunt, to get the Caribous on the board. Midway through the opening frame, Chris Stevens used a screen and fired a bomb past Churchill, for a 2-1 Flyers lead after 20 minutes.
In the second, the upstart Caribous used their marvelous speed to make hay in their first Allan Cup appearance. It began on a Flyers powerplay, when Ryan Lauzon outraced Kip Noble to a loose puck, spun his way around Noble, and fed the puck to a wide open Andrew Pearcey. Pearcey’s chance was stopped by Hunt, but Lauzon buried the rebound, giving new life to the youthful Clarenville squad. Four minutes later, a Nathan Saunders point shot found its way into the back of the net, giving the Caribous their first lead of the game, and a leg-up after two periods of play.
Facing the first adversity of their Allan Cup campaign, the Flyers charged out of the gate in the third, taking the play to the Caribous, and getting rewarded with scoring chances and powerplays. Six minutes into the third, Chris Stevens unleashed his second rocket of the game, giving Churchill no chance, and retying the game 3-3. Soon after, Donny Lloyd scored a powerplay goal to retake the lead for the hometown team. Wasting no time, the Flyers ‘kid line’ got in on the act, as Adam Horst jammed a puck under Churchill after a lengthy cycle, for Fort St. John’s third goal in a span of 2:32. On another powerplay shortly after, Tyler Brough walked out in front, and outwaited Churchill, to make it 6-3 Flyers.
“We just wanted to keep going as hard as we could” said Flyers player-of-the-game Ryan Manitowich of his team’s third period onslaught. “They seemed to be grabbing their sticks a little more, and we didn’t give them too much in the neutral zone, which we had given them in the first two periods. They had a tough time breaking out – we hemmed them in a little bit, and got a couple of quick goals.” Manitowich was held off the scoresheet on Tuesday, but had been in on several goals, as well as providing tenacious defence and effective shot-blocking in his own zone.
Click here to listen to a highlights package from the Moose FM radio broadcast.
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Click here to listen to Matt Sales’ post-game interview with Flyers assistant coach Mike Vandekamp.
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Click here to listen to Matt’s post-game interview with Caribous coach Randy Pearcey.
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The Flyers now have two days off, with a bye in the quarterfinals, and a berth guaranteed for Friday’s semifinals. The Caribous will look to build on a strong opening performance, when they wrap up the round robin against the (0-1) Bentley Generals on Wednesday night.
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