For Smoky River Express
The Falher Pirates face an undaunting task if they want to advance to the NPHL Final.
The Pirates are down 3-1 in their best-of-seven series against the Grande Prairie Athletics after action ended last week.
A spirited 5-2 win at Grande Prairie Feb. 23 tied the series 1-1 but the Pirates then lost 6-2 on home ice Feb. 26 and 7-5 at Grande Prairie Feb. 28 to put themselves in a huge hole.
Game 5 was at Falher March 2 with Game 6, if necessary, at Grande Prairie March 5. Check NPHL.com for the latest updates.
Dakota Mason and Trevor Mazurek each scored twice to lead the Pirates to a 5-2 win at Grande Prairie Feb. 23.
The Pirates never trailed in the game, despite being outshot 52-20. Pirates’ goaltender Chad Rycroft was brilliant making 48 saves as FAL retook the home ice advantage they lost after losing Game 1 by a score of 6-5.
Dallas Brochu opened the scoring in the first period only to have Morgan MacLean tie the game with three seconds left in the frame.
In the second, Mazurek scored the first of his two goals on the night at 5:15 but just 2:02 later Mackenzie Caron tied the game.
However, that would be it for the A’s as far as goal scoring goes.
Mason scored before the end of the period to give the Pirates a lead they would not surrender.
In the third, Mason and Mazurek scored in the final three minutes to send the Pirates home tied.
Each team was assessed 18 minutes in penalties in the game. Both teams were 0-for-6 on the power play.
The A’s rebounded to take a 2-1 series lead after a 6-2 win at Falher Feb. 26, marking the third straight game the road team won.
Caron scored twice and added an assist to lead the A’s in a penalty-filled affair [80 penalties in minutes called in the game], as the two clubs quickly acquired a hate for each other.
The A’s received goals from Sheldon Hubbard and Caron to take a 2-0 lead in the first.
However, the A’s ran into penalty trouble and the Pirates responded with power play goals from Brian Sommers and Mason to tie the game 2-2 before the end of the frame, the latter coming with a scant three seconds left on the clock.
In the second period, Braden Crone’s power play goal gave the A’s the lead they would not give up the rest of the night. MacLean scored at even strength before the end of the period to make it 4-2.
In the third, Darian Fay scored at 6:36 and Caron scored into an empty net to send the A’s home happy.
Everything went wrong for the Pirates in Game 4. Despite oputshooting the A’s 16-9 in the firs period, the Pirates found themselves down 4-0. The game was penalty-filled, suspension resulting game that featured nine power play goals, one short-handed goal, and 119 minutes in penalties.
When the smoke had cleared, the NPHL is left to deal with suspensions resulting from three match penalties and a gross misconduct.
In the first period, Blake Clement, Dennis Rix and Fay scored power play goals in the first 15:35 to stake the A’s to the big lead. Jon Mirasty added an even-strength goal – a rarity on this night with 4:04 left in the period.
In the second period, Caron scored short-handed and Tyrell Mason on a power play in the first 3:20 and it looked to be a laugher at 6-0.
However, the Pirates started to slowly climb back into the game. Before the end of the period, Darren Kramer, who would eventually score three power play goals on the night, and Trevor Tokarz scored and it was 6-2. In fact, all Pirates goals were power play goals on the night.
In the third period, Brochu’s power play goal at 1:19 closed the gap to 6-3.
Tanner Labbe’s goal shortly after made it 7-3. He was the seventh A’s player to score on the night.
Kramer added a pair of power play goals in the final three minutes to make it close but the A’s had the game well in hand.
During the game, the Pirates were 5-for-15 on the power play while the A’s were 4-for-7.
The following players were facing two-game suspensions after the game:
– Chris Lanoette of Grande Prairie for a second period match penalty.
– Sheldon Hubbard of Grande Prairie for a second period match penalty.
– Joel Pelletier of Falher for a second period match penalty.
– Marco St.-Pierre of Falher for a third period gross misconduct.