Nine years is a long time without a title, but the drought for the Fort St. John Senior Flyers is finally over.
The Flyers are Campbell Cup champions for the first time since the 2008-09 season, beating the Falher Pirates 7-6 in a frantic, nail-biting game five finish Tuesday night on home ice at the North Peace Arena.
"A win's a win, but it was such a bizarre game," Flyers Head Coach Andrew Leriger said.
"The tradition of the Flyers is back. For me personally, I never got to win it as a player so it's great to be a part of this as a coach. I'm happy for the boys," he said.
Captain Jeff Shipton was on the 2008-09 team that won the Campbell Cup, as well as the Allan Cup and Coy Cup winning Flyers squads, but said this win felt just as good as those previous accomplishments.
"It's been a long, heavy grind. But this is what we play for every year and this one is right up there," Shipton said.
The Flyers scored first, when Daylen Pearson scored on a one-timer from Jeff Shipton at 3:42 of the first period. Four minutes later, Adam Horst finished off some fancy tic-tac-toe passing to make it 2-0. The game began to get chippy, and the Pirates scored two goals in less than a minute to tie the game, before Horst scored his second of the night to make it 3-2.
Robbie Sidhu started the second period with a breakaway goal 20 seconds in. After Falher scored to make it 4-3, Horst completed his hat trick, making it 5-3. Each team scored in the remaining 10 minutes to make the score 6-4 heading into the third period.
With the score stuck at 6-4, the Pirates finally got the first goal of the third to make it 6-5, and scored a minute later to tie the game at 6 even.
With tensions high, Rick Cleaver scored on a fluke bounce to put the Flyers back up 7-6 with eight minutes to play.
There was a frantic finish, as the Pirates crowded the Flyers net and appeared to score with 10 seconds left in the game. The goal was immediately waved off, and the Flyers hung on for the victory.
Flyers goalie Travis McLean was named playoff MVP.
"It feels good, it's nice to finally get over the hump," McLean said.
Leriger was proud of the way McLean played all season long.
"Travis is the reason we got to the finals. He's a big reason we're winning it today," Leriger said.
Email sports reporter Dillon Giancola at email@example.com.