Pirates preparing to play in 13th NPHL Final

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

How sweep it is!
The Falher Pirates will hope that 13 is not unlucky when they begin play in the NPHL Final after sweeping the Manning Comets in the NPHL Seminal (East Division Final) March 3.
The Pirates will be playing in their 13th final, having a 3-9 record in the previous 12. Their three wins came in 1955, 1981, and 2016 as the team hopes to bring a fourth title to the Honey Capital.
The Pirates 3-0 win at Manning March 3 concluded a series sweep. The Pirates are a blistering 8-0 in the playoffs having swept the Grimshaw Huskies in the first round.
Cruz Cote scored the only goal the Pirates would need in Manning in the second period to break a scoreless tie. It was Cote’s third straight game-winning goal of the series – Trevor Tokarz scored the winner in the first game. Cote has scored six of the Pirates’ 14 goals in the series.
Darren Brochu and Dion Knelson added the other goals and goaltender Ryan Noble turned aside all 43 shots to record his second shutout of the playoffs. Noble only allowed eight goals in the four-game sweep.
In the third game at Falher, after a scoreless first period, the Pirates took a 3-0 second period lead on a pair of goals from Cote with Daren Kramer’s sandwich in-between.
However, Wyatt Noskey scored a power play goal before the end of the period, and Michael Gillen added another power play goal with 7:35 left to make it close. Noble was again outstanding stopping 42 of 44 shots.
With eight straight wins and all the momentum heading into the final it is hard to find a weakness in Falher’s game but it is the power play. The Pirates were a paltry 0-for-19 against Manning and must do better in the final.
The Pirates await the winner of the other semifinal, which sees the Dawson Creek Canucks leading the Spirit River Rangers 3-2 heading into Game 6 March 7. The Pirates have never met the Canucks in an NPHL playoff series while they are winless in four series against the Rangers.
The Rangers and Canucks have set a playoff record with four straight overtime games in their series.

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