The Dawson Creek Canucks are back-to-back Coy Cup champions, after beating the Fort St. John Flyers 4-2 on Saturday, March 30.
The Canucks spoiled the Flyers’ hopes of lifting the Cup in front of a standing room only hometown crowd — well, in the beer gardens anyway. An estimated 1,300 people were on hand to watch the final game.
For the Canucks, this is a fitting conclusion to a season that saw them lead the NPHL all regular season only to squander a 2-1 series lead in the final against the Grande Prairie Athletics.
As for the Flyers, it’s a tale of what could have been. The team played some of its best hockey of the year in this tournament, after an up-and-down but ultimately disappointing, season in NPHL play. Still, the team gave it all they had, outshot the Canucks 35-25, and put on a great show in front of their fans.
“I thought the guys played really good, it was a great game to watch, it’s just too bad we spotted them a three-goal lead. I thought we were the better team though for 50 minutes of that game, but congrats to Dawson Creek, they earned it,” said Flyers coach Andrew Leriger.
The difference in the Flyers’ play at the Coy Cup was that they were finally able to have a full bench. General Manager Lee Hartman said the team had only a full 20-man bench twice this year, and routinely had just 12 to 15 on the road. With the tournament at home, guys were able to fly in for a week and take off holidays to make every game.
For the team to get back to its winning ways, they’ll need to consistently have a full roster show up to games, not just at home. Another factor that went into the Canucks win is the team played all of March in the NPHL playoffs, and was so-well conditioned that it could play five straight nights in the tournament.
The Flyers meanwhile, hadn’t played in a month, and then had a night off before the final after playing three-straight nights.
“We haven’t been in that situation before and it might have hurt us. Some of us had the legs in the final game and some didn’t,” Leriger said.
Still, the Coy Cup as a tournament was a huge success for organizers Hartman and Paul van Nostrand, and their committee.
“The only way it could have went better is if we won. The dream final was Dawson Creek and Fort St. John and we got that, and the Canucks brought at least 100 people up for that game. This is a very costly event to put on and the committee worked their butts off, and (van Nostrand), he’s just a superstar,” Hartman said.
Email sports reporter Dillon Giancola at firstname.lastname@example.org.