Even before the opening puck drop, the Senior Flyers had the advantage, as a full Flyers roster was staring down a very limited Regals bench, which proved costly, as Fort St. John came flying out of the gate.
Following a number of hard hits and tenacious forechecks, Fort St. John struck first as assistant captain Todd Alexander scored high-blocker side on goaltender David Brumbey just 6:16 into the game, with captain Dave Alexander and affiliate player Rod Stevens registering the opening assists.
Stevens helped doubled that lead roughly four minutes later, jumping all over a rebound off a long slap shot from Arlo Hadland, providing a 2-0 lead to conclude the first period.
In the second, the offense was plentiful for Fort St. John, as Ryan Carter and Jeff Fast each scored once, while Jeff Shipton scored twice, compared to the lone goal scored by the Regals’ Jason Deleurme, to conclude the middle frame with the Senior Flyers in control, 6-1.
The final frame began with a few new faces on the ice, as David Brumbey was replaced in net with Justin Mulholland, while a new forward for the Regals, John Coyle, took to the ice for the first time in the game.
New faces didn’t stop the Flyers from extending their lead, as Ryan Carter scored the Flyers seventh goal just 1:38 into the third, providing the home team a 7-1 lead.
However, Coyle made an immediate impact for his club, dancing around a handful of Fort St. John defenders and showing some great patience to out wait Troy Hunt, scoring for the Regals to cut the score to 7-2.
Despite Powell River scoring a power-play marker while on a five-on-three, Fort St. John was too much for the Regals to handle Thursday evening, as the Senior Flyers emerged victorious 7-3.
The victory was something the Flyers were unable to achieve the entire 2012 Savage Cup, as Fort St. John was swept by the Regals last year in Powell River.
Following the game, Flyers head coach Darrel Leahy talked about the line of Middleton, Shipton and Fast, who combined for six points during game one.
“Middleton’s line with Fast and Shipton were our best line of the night, especially offensively. We tried to reward them with a little more ice time, and it will be hard to break them up. We had plans for a different line tomorrow, but I don’t know.”
Credit must also be given to Senior Flyers goaltender Troy Hunt, who made countless key saves in the game, while remaining calm and composed throughout his 35 save win.
Coach Leahy also talked about the physicality of game one, something he was pleased to see, but says there’s always room for more.
“We wanted to go to the body and wear them down, and we did for the most part. I thought we let off at times, but I’d have like to seen us pound them all night long.”
The 100th Savage Cup resumes tomorrow for game two between the Regals and Flyers, with the puck scheduled to drop at 8 p.m. as the Flyers look to double their best-of-five series lead to two games, while the Regals look to even the series.