The Kinsmen Flyers and Pimm’s Production Flyers paired up to host the Fort St. John Minor Hockey Atom Development Tournament over the weekend at the Pomeroy Sport Centre.
From Friday, Dec. 7 to Sunday, Dec. 9, eight regional teams (divided into Pool A and Pool B) from Fort St. John, Dawson Creek, Fairview, Grande Prairie, Beaverlodge, Peace River and Sexsmith battled it out to make the finals on Sunday afternoon.
In Pool A the Fort St. John Pimm’s Production Flyers finished in third place, beating Fairview 9-6 but losing to Grande Prairie 3-4 and Dawson Creek 6-9. The Dawson Creek Canucks defeated the Grande Prairie Knights for first place on Sunday.
In Pool B the Fort St. John Kinsmen Flyers went undefeated, rocking Beaverlodge 10-3 on Friday, the Peace River Mustangs 9-8 on Saturday and beating the Sexsmith Vipers 12-7 on Sunday morning to win their pool with 60 points.
“I’m happy with the effort that my players put into the whole weekend,” said Kinsmen Flyers’ head coach Todd Lang on Sunday. “We were successful this weekend and are able to build on those positive experiences.”
Sunday afternoon the Kinsmen Flyers faced the Mustangs again in the final in front of a sizeable, and boisterous, home crowd.
With goals from Nathan Brownlee and Tyler Musgrove, the Kinsmen Flyers went up 2-0 over the Mustangs until Peace River’s Jalal Saleh put one past Flyers’ goaltender Jordan Fairlie to finish the period 2-1 for the home team.
In the second the Flyers faced some discipline issues and gave the Mustangs four power players including a 5-on-3. After Brownlee scored again for the Flyers just over five minutes into the period, penalty trouble gave the Mustangs two back-to-back power-play goals to tie the game at 3-3.
Both teams came out flying in the third period, but it was the Mustangs who got the go-ahead goal with Ashton Wald getting Peace River’s third unanswered goal of the game.
The Flyers returned the pressure but couldn’t get one past Peace River’s Nickolas Elkins, who seemed to stop everything Fort St. John shot at him. At the other end, Fairlie made three huge back-to-back saves in the third to keep his team in it.
“Our goalie held us in there,” Lang said. “The game could’ve been over part way through the third period. He made some big stops for us and gave us even the chance to win. Jordan played very well for us today.”
As the intensity picked up in the game, the Flyers pushed hard to tie the game and pulled Fairlie for the extra attacker.
With 1:18 to go, Eric Melnyk tied the game, batting in a rebound high over Elkin’s head and into the net to the tie it up 4-4 and push the game to overtime.
Unfortunately penalty problems reappeared for the Flyers two minutes into overtime, which the Mustangs capitalized on to win 5-4.
“When you play a game somebody loses,” Lang said. “You don’t play to come second, so there are some sad feelings in the dressing room but it’s all part of learning how to play the game.”
“We came back and tied it up and put it into overtime. It just didn’t happen today for us.”
When asked which players stood out for him over the tournament, individuals couldn’t come to Lang’s mind.
“We had lots of good effort from lots of players,” he said. “I think the better players on the team played up to their potential and I think my role players, the ones that muck and grind, they all did a good job.”
“I just think that not one player didn’t put in their best effort and they should all be commended for what they put in this weekend.”
The Kinsmen Flyers will head to Peace River next weekend for a league game before Christmas break.