Redemption is the name of the game this weekend as the Fort St. John Senior Flyers welcome their AAA rival and 2013 Allan Cup host, the Bentley Generals, to North Peace Arena for back-to-back games Saturday and Sunday.
After dropping two games to the Generals 8-4 and 4-3 in Bentley in November, the Flyers are looking to up their game and show the home crowd what they’ve got as Fort St. John gets set to host the Savage Cup this spring.
“It’s always more fun in our barn,” said Flyers captain Dave Alexander from practice on Wednesday. “Obviously we’re looking for redemption to beat them and let them know we’re for real this year.”
“We’re gunning for the Allan Cup and we want to go there and possibly play them in the final game of the year.”
With only one practice under the belt before the big AAA re-match, Flyers’ coach Darrel Leahy hopes his team has the wheels to take on the Generals after Christmas break.
“We’ll be fighting the turkey and we haven’t been on the ice for two weeks, so it’ll be a challenge,” Leahy said. “It’ll be a big weekend. We need Hunt to shine, he has to have a big weekend. We’ll see what happens.”
Although the Flyers will be missing some of their stars like Matt Shuya and Paul Wiens, they’ll still have an impressive bench. The Flyers will be bringing in four forwards, or “imports” to fill the gap while their regulars try to put on a good show for the fans.
“We’ll have some different line combinations we haven’t had before because they’ll be different groups, but we’re looking forward to that,” Leahy said. “The boys need to play in front of some people and get the adrenaline going and go from there.”
Alexander agreed, adding that his team needs to concentrate on playing at a higher pace and getting back into AAA hockey speed.
“There’s not a lot of room for errors out there when you play a team like Bentley. If you make a mistake it usually costs you a goal,” Alexander said.
“It doesn’t get too chippy but there are a lot of hard hits and it’s physical and high-paced anytime we play them. We’ve played them more than any team in the country in the past five years so it can get a little heated at times. They’re just trying to accomplish the same thing as us, getting better and prepared for the Allan Cup.”
The puck drops at Saturday’s game at 8 p.m. while Sunday’s start is earlier, set for 1:30 p.m. at North Peace Arena. This will be Fort St. John’s first AAA hockey game of the season.
“It’ll be big,” Leahy said. “Hopefully we get good fan support.”