With the cup in the house, there was no shortage of excitement at the Hap Parker arena in Powell River Saturday night. With the Powell River Regals up 2 games to none with a chance to win the Savage Cup on home ice, both teams would play consistently for a solid 60 minutes, but it would indeed be the Regals who would prevail with a 3-1 victory to win their first Savage Cup since 2006. 5 consecutive years of the Flyers being BC 'AAA' Champions would come to a end on the night they out shot the Regals by a large margin, but they only managed to solve goaltender Justin Mulholland once on 38 shots. Clayton Pool took the loss despite bringing forth his best effort, as did several other Flyers, who played with full bore energy for the entire 60 minutes of hockey.
Prior to the game, the Regals organization would honour Andy Mccallum, by raising his #4 to the rafters of the Powell River Rec Complex. Andy was a key member of the Regals on and off the ice since the '60s, and helped the Regals in to 15 Savage Cup finals, 6 McKenzie Cups, and 4 times he attended the Allan Cup, most recently with the 2006 edition of the Regals, who hosted the National Championships on home ice, where they would earn themselves that very title.
The game would have an early goal as just under 5 minutes in to the opening frame Joe Calderone would pick up a loose puck in front of Pool and slide it in to the yawning cage, with the set up being done by Doug Wilson and Chris Tarr. Shots on goal in the first would not at all reflect the score, with the Flyers throwing 15 shots on net compared to the Regals 7. Both goaltenders made several notable stops, including a great stop by Hunt on a one timer pass in the slot that brought the Flyers bench to their feet.
As the second period began, the intensity really started to pick up with several checks, as well as numerous scoring opportunities. Despite no scoring in the second, the scoring chances were left, right and centre; with both goaltenders giving their teams a chance to win. The Flyers would successfully kill off two penalties, giving them a 13/15 penalty kill on the series while the Regals would kill off one penalty in the second; leaving the Flyers with a dismal 0-for-16 power play in the series heading in to the third period.
Midway through the third period, Regal goaltender Justin Mulholland would make numerous saves to keep his team up by one, and his team would repay the 24 year old by going up 2 goals with just 6:46 remaining as Scott Kirton would blast home his 2nd goal and 4th point of the series, assists on that goal would go to John Coyle and Elias Godoy. All three of the aforementioned players were key pieces of the Regals throughout the series, picking up a combined 11 points in 3 games to lead the Regals offence. Just under a minute later, the Flyers would get some life as Bryan Lewis fired a puck on net, with David Alexander creating traffic and allowing cousin Todd Alexander to get the puck up and over Mulholland to get the visitors on the board. The final 5 minutes would feature more of the same hockey we witnessed all weekend, with plenty of shots being fired and the Regals doing anything they can to separate the man from the puck. With just 6 seconds remaining, Powell River would finally get the puck over the red line, as the Flyers pressed hard to preserve their Allan cup hopes. Chris Tarr would intercept a Flyer pass and send the puck in to the empty net, sealing the victory and giving Fort St John their first Savage cup loss in 5 seasons. Shots on goal in the 3rd would be 13-9 in favour of the Flyers, but they would be unable to solve Mulholland who would finish with 38 saves and first star on the night. Clayton Pool made 22 saves in defeat, but brought his best effort making several game saving stops.
So, with the end of the Savage Cup series, brings an end to the 2011-2012 edition of Fort St John Flyers hockey. 18 games and 7 wins later; the boys will now call it a year and turn their focus to the off season before returning to the ice in the fall. The Regals will now host the McKenzie Cup beginning April 5th on the West Coast, against the winner of the Alberta series between the Stony Plain Eagles and the Horse Lake Chiefs. The winner of that series will advance to the Allan Cup, Canada's Senior 'AAA' National Championship, held this year in Lloydminster, Alberta.
On behalf of myself, and the staff at Moose FM in Fort St John; I would like to thank the Powell River Regals for their hospitality throughout the weekend, the Powell River Kings for allowing me to use their facilities, the City of Powell River for allowing the use of a board room throughout the weekend, and the City Centre Hotel for their amazing breakfasts and comfortable beds. I'll never forget the experience and neither will the team, and we can never thank our supporters and sponsors enough.