The Senior Flyers completed the perfect circle of hockey success in Fort St. John on Wednesday night when they beat the Hythe Mustangs 8-2 at North Peace Arena.
With the Huskies’ 3-2 win over the Navigators on Sunday and the NE BC & Yukon Trackers’ beating the Storm 4-2 in Grande Prairie the same day, it was up to the Flyers to complete the hat trick of local teams.
Despite a shaky start in the first and some penalty trouble in the second, the Flyers found their legs (and goals) and went on a tear.
“It’s another habit we have in the first period, and we talked about it before we went out for the first period,” said Flyers’ coach Darrel Leahy. “We wanted a quick start but we all had eggs in our pockets, nobody hit anyone, no one went near anyone, nobody hustled for the puck, so it was a pretty even period.”
Paul Wiens opened scoring in the game less than five minutes into the first. Hythe’s Aaron Dumas tied it up at one and set the tone for an even-played period until the Mustangs were sent to the box late in the period.
Girard DiCaire scored on the power play to give the Flyers the 2-1 go-ahead.
After three straight penalties for the Flyers to start the second, it was only a matter of time before the Mustangs capitalized on the odd-man advantage, getting one past Jared Anderson to tie the game once more.
It would be Hythe’s last goal as the Flyers got rolling.
With goals from Jeff Shipton, Wiens, Clayton Bahm and a power play slap shot from defenceman Arlo Hadland, the Flyers were up 6-2 and outshooting Hythe for the first time in the game.
“We had some penalties early in the second so we didn’t really get rolling,” Leahy said. “We let off in the third a bit but we came out, dumped it in, hit their defence, kept the puck in their end and everything falls into place when you do that, and you did.”
There were only two goals in the third. Wiens got his hat-trick goal early in the period, re-directing Hadland’s shot from the point past Hythe’s Casey Vanbeekveld. Matt Shuya netted another 12 minutes later for the Flyers’ final goal.
There were some harsh words and a few shoves and crosschecks between the Flyers and Mustangs, as the teams’ history came to a boiling point around the goalie crease more than a few times.
Since they’ll see each other again on Friday night, Leahy is hoping both teams keep the fire stoked.
“To their credit they came with some feist and some jump and a fairly full line up, and thank God they did, they woke us up,” Leahy said.
“I hope our guys can play a first period [on Friday]. Hopefully we can come out hard in the first period and go to the body, play in their end, that’s our game.”
There were a couple of black helmets among the Flyers’ bench too as Huskies Robbie Sidhu, Taylor Greatrex and Cody Hildebrand ditched their yellow and black jerseys for the blue and white. Leahy said he plans on having them back in the lineup on Friday night.
Wiens ended the night with five points and line mate Shipton had four.
“He’s fired up,” Leahy said about Shipton. “He got fired up when we all did in the second. That line tried to get going a little in the first, there were signs of it and him especially. He had a good game, had a lot of shots, and some real good body checks there in the second period.”
“He had a couple real good ones. It fires everyone one up.”
Final shots were 41-27 for the Flyers.
The Mustangs and Flyers will face off again Friday night at North Peace Arena with the puck drop at 8:30 p.m.