Flyers facing must win situation following tough OT loss

It was a back-and-forth first period, as right off the bat, the Regals seemed to be in control, using their speed to generate scoring chances, while the Flyers had trouble establishing any sustained offensive pressure.

The Regals struck first Saturday, as Jason Deleurme scored on the power-play 4:11 into the first, beating Flyers starting goaltender Troy Hunt to provide Powell River the quick 1-0 lead.

However, midway through the first period the Flyers began to intensify their forecheck and physicality, which shifted the game’s momentum. The tenacity was rewarded at 13:46 of the first, with the Flyers and Regals engaged in some four-on-four play, Bryan Lewis, returning to the Flyers from injury, blasted a slap shot from the point, beating a screened Justin Mulholland for the 1-1 tie.

The tied score carried into the second period, where the offense really began to pile up for both clubs. Powell River once again retook the lead on the power-play, scoring 2:20 into the second, as the puck took a funny deflection off Elias Godoy, who was lying down on the ice after falling in the crease.

Once again, the Flyers resiliency paid off, as the home team evened the scoreboard at 2-2 at 5:16 into the second, with Rod Stevens providing the game-tying-goal.

Goals continued to be scored in the second, and it was Powell River who would net the next two, as Godoy scored his second of the period off a bad angle shot at 11:50 during some four-on-four play, followed by a rebound whacked in past Hunt off the stick of Justin Styffe at 15:18.

With the Flyers trailing 4-2 and time winding down in the second frame, a big goal was scored by a big defenseman, as Flyers blueliner Tyler Loney made a slick move around a couple defenders to cut into the slot, firing a shot high, short-side to bring the Flyers within one, 4-3.

The third period began with the Flyers on the power-play, and Fort St. John made Powell River pay for their undisciplined play, as Mike Lalonde scored with the man-advantage, banking the puck off the back of Mulholland from behind the net, erasing the two goal deficit and evening the scoreboard at 4-4.

It was all Senior Flyers in the third period, as Lalonde’s game tying goal seemed to energize the home team and their fans, who maintained some solid pressure throughout the final frame.

That pressure was rewarded at 4:30 into the third, when Ryan Carter fired a missile of one-timer to beat Mulholland, following a nice pass from behind the net courtesy of Rod Stevens.

As the Flyers led 5-4 in the third, an unfortunate broken play resulted in another game tying goal. Regals captain Misko Antisin fired a one-timer from the point, which resulted in Antisin breaking his stick, changing the direction of the puck. The puck slowly trickled to a wide open John Coyle, who quickly threw it past Hunt, who was trying to get back into position following the fluke play.

Regulation ended with a 5-5 tie, sending the important game three into sudden death overtime, where the Flyers came charging out of the gate, sustaining three minutes of solid pressure, but were unable to beat Mulholland.

3:29 into the extra frame, John Murgatroyd received a patient pass from Jason Deleurme in the Flyers zone, and Murgatroyd made no mistake beating Hunt low, opposite corner, for a tough 6-5 Fort St. John overtime loss.

Following the game, Flyers head coach Darrel Leahy said he liked the effort his team put forth Saturday night, and just reiterated the importance of maintaining composed, and keeping the Regals off the power-play, as the visiting team scored four of their six goals with the man-advantage Saturday evening.

Sunday, Powell River will look for their third straight win at the North Peace Arena, and if they can achieve that, will leave Fort St. John tomorrow as Savage Cup champions for the second straight year. The Flyers on the other hand, now face a must win situation both tomorrow, then again in Monday’s potential game five.

Tomorrow’s game hits the ice at 8 p.m.