South Peace News
It certainly was not the start last year’s NPHL East Division champions and NPHL finalists were anticipating.
The Falher Pirates are winless after four games to start the season after a 3-2 shootout loss at Grande Prairie Nov. 16 and a 3-2 overtime loss to the visiting Spirit River Rangers Nov. 18, including the last three games by a scant one goal.
However, what it does prove is the Pirates will again by very competitive this season after starting the season with the toughest schedule: at defending champion Dawson Creek, home to Manning, at Grande Prairie and home to Spirit River. The schedule gauntlet finally lessens after road games at Manning Nov. 24 and Valleyview Nov. 25.
Slow starts – at least in terms of scoring – keep putting the Pirates behind. In each game this season they have yet to score first.
In Grande Prairie, Brock Wallace and Khalin Marsolais gave the Athletics a 2-0 first period lead. Cruz Cote pulled the Pirates to within one before the end of the period.
In the second period, Eric Sorenson’s first of the season tied the game. The teams battled through a scoreless third period and overtime setting up the shootout, which Marsolais won.
Back at home against Spirit River, Greg Lazoruk’s goal gave the Rangers a 1-0 first period lead despite the fact the Pirates outshot them 14-8.
In the second period, the Rangers took a 2-0 lead on Rylan Yaremko’s second goal of the season. The Rangers outshot the Pirates 14-6 in the period, aided by five straight power plays. Yaremko’s goal was not scored on the power play, however. On a positive not, by the end of the week, the Pirates sported the league’s best penalty killing units.
The Pirates rallied in the third period. Tyson Gagnon’s first of the season with 2:43 left gave the Pirates hope and spoiled the shutout bid of goaltender Josh Round. Cote then scored on the power play with only 24 seconds left setting up overtime.
However, Yaremko ended any hopes of a Pirates win by scoring at 1:53.