The hometown Flyers had a youthful boost to their roster Wednesday, as Fort St. John Huskies Robbie Sidhu, Cody Hildebrand and Taylor Greatrex all suited up for the Flyers yesterday evening.
The first period proved to be the closest for both teams, as Fort St. John’s Paul Wiens opened the scoring 7:44 into the game, after receiving a nice touch-pass at centre ice from Jeff Shipton, allowing Wiens to enter the offensive zone in full stride, blowing a slap-shot past Mustang’s goaltender, Casey Vanbeekveld.
The point for both Wiens and Shipton was just the start to an impressive night for both talented players.
Hythe showed some solid pushback, scoring roughly six minutes later to even the score at 1-1. After a scramble in front of Senior Flyers goaltender Jared Anderson, which was the result of a broken passing play, the loose puck was eventually whacked into the net.
With a tie game and the first period just 64 seconds away from conclusion, Senior Flyers D-man Gerard Dicaire received a crisp pass from Paul Wiens, ripping a one-timer slap shot from the point to beat a screened Vanbeekveld for the go-ahead, power-play goal.
The second period began even in shots, 9-9, with the scoreboard reading 2-1 in favour of the Flyers, but much like the first, the game's back-and-forth theme continued. 10:05 into the second, the Mustangs scored a power-play goal of their own, evening the score at two goals a piece.
Cue the Senior Flyers offence, physicality and all around control of the game.
The Mustangs' second goal seemed to light a spark under the hometown Flyers, as Jeff Shipton scored exactly one minute later. Shipton made a nice move along the wall to shake off a defender, using his quick feet and shiftiness to cut to the net, where he made no mistake in roofing the puck high glove for the go-ahead, 3-2 goal.
The remainder of the game belonged solely to Fort St. John, as the offence continued to pour into the net. Paul Wiens got the ball rolling with 6:38 left in the second, scoring his second of the game, followed by goals from Clayton Bahm and Arlo Hadland on the power-play to wrap up the second period with the Flyers leading 6-2.
It was much of the same dominance in the third period, with Paul Wiens completing his hat-trick to kick off the final frame, followed by a goal from Matt Shuya, ending the game with the Flyers earning an emphatic 8-2 victory.
Following the evening festivities, both Paul Wiens and Jeff Shipton were all over the score sheet. Wiens finished the game with three goals and two assists, while Shipton earned one goal and three assists.
Senior Flyers head coach Darrel Leahy talked about the tenacious effort he saw from the talented Shipton Wednesday evening.
"He’s fired up. He got fired up when we all did in the second period," he says. "He had a great game, a lot of shots, some of which he missed. Had some really good body checks in the later half of the second period when we started laying the body on them, and he had a couple really good ones, and it fires everyone up."
After the game, coach Leahy said the turning point of the game was when his squad decided to up the physicality in the second period.
"We let off in the third a little bit, but we came out [in the second], dumped it in, hit their defence, kept the puck in their end. Everything falls into place when you do that, and it did, simple as that."
Despite the lopsided score, he also gave credit to physical effort put forth by the opposition.
"To their credit, they came out with some feist and some jump, and a fairly full line up, and thank god they did. I’m glad they did, it woke us up."
Still, Leahy said his squad needs to be better in the first, something they can attempt this Friday, when the rematch between the Senior Flyers and the Mustangs takes place in Fort St. John, at 8:30 p.m. in the North Peace Arena.