The Fort St. John Senior Flyers faced their first loss of the season in the North Peace Hockey League on Saturday when the Grande Prairie Athletics came to North Peace Arena for some redemption.
On Oct. 27 the Flyers beat the A’s in their season opener 5-1 in Grande Prairie and the short-benched A’s got some pay back on Nov. 17 when they routed the Flyers 6-3 at North Peace Arena.
Up 3-1 after the first, the Flyers faced some serious penalty trouble and the A’s capitalized on the power player, scoring six unanswered goals to win the game.
“I was disappointed to say the least,” said head coach Darrel Leahy on Monday.
“Our first period was okay, we still gave up a lot of odd-man rushes and had some sloppy play but came out 3-1 after one, and then the whole second period and the first eight minutes of the third period it was a steady march to the penalty box.”
Despite three goals in the first from cousins David Alexander (2 goals) and Todd Alexander, seven Flyers penalties in the second led to three Grande Prairie goals to put the A’s up 4-3 after 40 minutes.
“It was a lot of undisciplined play and their power play worked,” Leahy said. “They only had 13 skaters and they worked hard and I think our guys thought they could punish them or something. I don’t know what they thought. It was just undisciplined play. Undisciplined aggression.”
The Flyers outshot the A’s 36-33 in the game, but consistent five-on-fours made it hard for Fort St. John to get out of their own end. Three more penalties in the third and two more goals from Grande Prairie sealed the deal at 6-3 despite the Flyers outshooting the A’s 17-7 in the final period.
“I’m not holding it against the goalie. I’m sure there are a couple he’d like back but he didn’t take any penalties,” Leahy said about Flyers’ goaltender Troy Hunt.
“There were more problems. Some of the guys didn’t know our basic breakout system, so I guess I can take the blame for that, and we’re going to make sure everybody knows our system.”
Leahy added that the team didn’t even talk after Saturday’s game, that his players knew and he “didn’t have to tell them” what went wrong.
“What do you do but reiterate the importance of playing disciplined?” Leahy said. “In Bentley we played very disciplined and were still aggressive and we didn’t see this [kind of play] at all.”
“They have to stay out of the box or they won’t be able to play.”
The Flyers’ next game will be in Spirit River against the Rangers on Nov. 24. Leahy said his goals are to make sure his players know their breakout system and to stay disciplined on the ice.