The Fort St. John Senior Flyers began their championship defence with a 6-5 win over the Grande Prairie Athletics Saturday night.
It was a hard-fought, narrow battle that went down to the third period wire.
Joey Massingham and Reid Campbell gave the Flyers an early 2-0 lead in the first period, but Grande Prairie had tied the game up early in the second. Tanner LeSann and Steven Fast would put the Flyers up 4-2 by the end of the period.
The Athletics outscored the Flyers in the third period, putting three pucks behind Travis McLean, but it wasn't enough as Tanner LeSann and Jordan Gies added goals for the Flyers to maintain the lead.
Before the game, the Flyers unveiled their 2017-18 NPHL season championship banner and trophies.
Fort St. John will head to Grande Prairie for a rematch on Nov. 3.
Fort St. John Senior Flyers vs Grande Prairie Athletics
Saturday, October 27, 2018, 8:30 p.m., North Peace Arena, Fort St. John
Scoring — Fort St. John, Joey Massingham (Adam Horst, Rick Cleaver), 16:31; Fort St. John, Reid Campbell (Tanner LeSann) 11:21; Grande Prairie, Mackenzie Caron (Blane Clement, Tyrell Mason) 0:42.
Penalties — Grande Prairie, Morgan Maclean (slashing, 2 min.) 4:26; Fort St. John, Keenan Larson (holding, 2 min.) 0:04.
Scoring — Grande Prairie, Devin Bell (Sheldon McArthur, Dennis Rix), 14:05; Fort St. John, Tanner LeSann (Reid Campbell, Jeff Shipton), powerplay, 5:22; Fort St. John, Steven Fast (Robbie Sidhu, Jordan Gies), 0:30.
Penalties — Grande Prairie, Morgan Maclean (charging, 2 min), 18:29; Grande Prairie, Brock Clement (roughing, 2 min) 13:36; Fort St. John, Josh Bennett (roughing, 2 min), 13:36; Fort St. John, Rick Cleave (roughing, 2 min) 7:45; Grande Prairie, Chris Lanoette (roughing, 4 min), 7:45; Grande Prairie, Dennis Rix (crosschecking, 2 min), 7:12; Fort St. John, Daylen Pearson (high sticking, 2 min), 3:59.
Scoring — Fort St. John, Tanner LeSann (Joey Massingham, Lien Miller-Jeannotte), 16:36; Grande Prairie, Blane Clement (Mackenzie Caron, Dennis Rix), powerplay, 15:39; Grande Prairie, Dennis Rix (Mark Stogan), 13:05; Fort St. John, Jordan Gies (Steven Fast, Robbie Sidhu), 9:38; Grande Prairie, Chris Lanoette (Morgan Maclean), 5:35.
Penalties — Grande Prairie, Brock Clement (too many men, 2 min); 18:42; Fort St. John, Robbie Sidhu (interference, 2 min) 16:10.
Goal (saves/shots) — Fort St. John, Travis McLean (30/35); Grande Prairie, Kieran Smiley (24/30)