It might have dropped the Fort St. John Senior Flyers down to .500, but last night's 4-3 loss in Grande Prairie against the Athletics was nothing to be ashamed of - considering the Flyers only had 11 skaters.
Surprising even themselves, the Flyers had the A's on the ropes for most of the game, as the two teams were tied up into the last two minutes of the game when Grande Prairie got a lucky bounce and the game-winning goal at 1:33.
"We knew coming in that we only had the 11 skaters and no one was driving down, so I made an adjustment like we did last year to play a real passive one-two-two and make the other team come to us and prey on their mistakes, and that's how it went down tonight," said Flyers' coach Gerard Dicaire. "They'd turn it over to us and we'd score."
"I know when we have a full team these guys don't stand a chance. We had guys who were exhausted beating their d-men wide and going to the net. When we have a full squad I'm not overly concerned. The guys put in a greasy road effort," he added. "It was within a minute and a half of coming out with a point, but they got a lucky bounce at the end and we couldn't get it done with the goalie pulled. It was a good game though, we played good."
Grande Prairie opened scoring in the game on the power play, but nearly 30 seconds later, Adam Horst tied it up for Fort St. John with assists to Robbie Sidhu and Troy Hunt.
The second period was similar, except the A's opened the period with a short-handed goal - and again, Horst tied it up with six minutes to go to bring the score up to 2-2.
Taking the lead for the first time in the game, the Flyers got their first power-play goal of the night when Sidhu blasted one from the point to go up 3-2, but the lead wouldn't last long. Just over two minutes later the A's tied it at three with five minutes to go in the game.
With a lucky bounce, Grande Prairie got one past Hunt with 1:33 left in the game, and even though Dicaire pulled the goalie, the Flyers ran out of time and lost the game 4-3, despite outshooting the full-benched Athletics 37-29.
"It was a tough loss but we're getting there," Dicaire said. "With 11 guys I don't have anything bad to say, the boys put in an effort."
"Adam Horst had two goals for us, one of them a highlight reel goal. Payden Wongstedt played unbelievably defensively, I mean they all put in a great effort, but those two guys are the ones that stuck out for me."
Now sitting at 3-3-0, the Flyers know they want to get back on the winning side of things, but this weekend might prove difficult as they welcome the Falher Pirates on Saturday night, who's 4-2-0 in the NPHL's East Division.
"I don't know what to expect from them. I know they're a lot stronger than those other eastern teams so whatever they bring we'll deal with and hopefully we get more than 11 guys out," Dicaire said, laughing.
"Going forward I don't think we need to change much. We're on the brink of breaking through. I know we're back down to .500 here, but I don't think we need to change too much. The boys are buying into the system and the attitude on the bench is up and up," he added. "We'll just stick to the game plan and see what Falher brings into town and take it to them."
Saturday's game against the Pirates starts at 8:30 p.m. at the North Peace Arena.
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