South Peace News
It was a case of complete euphoria to crashing back down to Earth within 24 hours last weekend for the Falher Pirates.
Nov. 18 on home ice, the Pirates shut out the Spirit River Rangers 8-0 to run their record to a then-league best 4-0. It was the first time in their 41-game NPHL history that the Pirates had skunked the Rangers. In fact, only once had the Pirates kept the Rangers under three goals, that being when they won 3-2 in Spirit River on Jan. 10, 2015.
What might even be more remarkable is goaltender Ryan Noble recorded the shutout making 22 saves. It was his second shutout to start the season. Whenever that last happened in the NPHL is a search for the statistician. Noble also blanked the Grimshaw Huskies Oct. 29 making 24 saves.
Kevin Monfette scored what proved to be the only goal the Pirates would need in the first period.
Cruz Cote made it 2-0 later in the period on the power play after Brad Lazoruk drew unsportsmanlike and roughing minor penalties putting the Pirates on a four-minute power play. Cote had assisted on Monfette’s earlier goal.
The Pirates blew the game open in the second period. Eric Dentinger and Darren Kramer scored in the first half of the period before Pat Rowan scored back-to-back power play goals in the last five minutes to make it 6-0 and the game was no longer in doubt.
Cote added his second of the game just past the halfway mark of the third period and Joe Sylvain’s first of the season at 13:18 completed the scoring.
The Pirates, who outshot the Rangers 46-22, were able to ward off two late power plays to preserve the shutout.
The next night the Pirates made the trip to Manning with the league’s best record (4-0) in tow. But with a few players missing, it was too tough a task to overcome as the Comets won 4-2.
Matts Maisonneuve suited up to help the club and scored the first period’s only goal.
In the second period, Brendan Baumgartner tied the game with his first of the season playing in his first game.
However, Walker Cote’s goal with 1:50 left in the period restored the Pirates’ slim lead.
In the third period, Arik Schinke tied the game only 50 seconds in. It was also his first game of the season. Baumgartner’s second of the game at 3:38 gave the Comets a lead they would never relinquish.
Schinke empty-net goal with 1:08 left sealed the win.
The 3-1-1-0 Comets trail the 4-1-0-0 Pirates by one point in the East Division but the Pirates have played one less game.
The West Division leading Dawson Creek Canucks are the NPHL’s only undefeated team with four straight wins to start the season.
The Pirates host Fort St. John Nov. 25 before making the short trip to Grimshaw Nov. 26. The Pirates already have wins against both clubs this season, having won in Fort St. John 6-3 and at home against Grimshaw 6-0. The game against Fort St. John will conclude the season series.