Senior Flyers win thrilling home opener against Grande Prairie Athletics

Rick Cleaver takes a penalty shot against Athletics goalie Dave Larson in the second period of the Fort St. John Flyers' season opener on October 29th. Photo by Chris Newton

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Fort St. John Senior Flyers played a thrilling first game to open their NPHL season at home this past Saturday.

Before the game began, the Flyers organization had a brief ceremony thanking their fans and unveiling the 2016 Coy Cup banner that the team won in Terrace last March. Flyers president Paul Van Nostrand also gave a brief speech about winning the Coy.

The Flyers got off to a bit of sluggish start, in part due to receiving three penalties in the first five minutes. Despite this, the Flyers took a 1-0 lead with 2 minutes left courtesy of Adam Horst assisted by Robbie Sidhu.

In the second, the Flyers were again assessed a number of penalties off the bat, and the Grande Prairie Athletics made them pay for the undisciplined play with a powerplay and an even-strength goal to take the lead 2-1.

The Flyers seemed to settle down in the third and really poured it on. Just over 5 minutes in, Devan Greyeyes tied it up, assisted by Jeff Shipton and Arlo Hadland. While Grande Prairie answered back just over a minute later, the Flyers also answered back to tie things up once again, as Brennan Giroux found the back of the net, assisted by Shipton and Marcus Juister.

Shipton himself would make it a 4-3 game for Fort St. John with just over 10 minutes left, assisted by Rick Clearer and Andrew Payou. While G.P. tried to force overtime by pulling their goaltender with a minute and a half left, the Flyers were able to repeatedly ice the puck and stonewall the attack, winning the game 4-3.

Head coach Andrew Leringer said after the game that he was impressed overall with the team’s performance, especially since they were lacking several key players due to injury. The Flyers are playing on the road on Thursday when they head to Spirit River, before they’re back in action on home ice next Saturday against Falher.

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