Pirates stymie Canucks to tie NPHL Final

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

We have a series!
After losing the first two games of the NPHL Final to the Dawson Creek Canucks, the Falher Pirates roared back last week with two wins on “home ice” in games played in Peace River.

The Pirates won 5-2 on March 16 and 3-1 March 18 to tie the best-of-seven final 2-2 in front of well over 1,000 fans who made the short trip to watch their beloved Pirates do battle. The Pirates had to vacate their home arena due to the SARDA Agricultural Trade Show.

March 18, David Sanchez opened the scoring with his first of the playoffs in the second period just past the halfway point. With 6:03 left in the period, the Pirates’ leading scorer in the playoffs, Darren Kramer, made it 2-0 on a power play.

The first period was scoreless despite the fact the Pirates blitzed Canucks’ goaltender Payton Lee with 27 shots. He was up the task, however, stopping them all.
In the third period, Wes Shipton closed the gap to 2-1 with a power play goal just before the seven-minute mark.
However, Kramer sealed the win with 4:47 left after scoring his second of the night.

The Pirates outshot the Canucks 55-29 and were one-for-five on the power play compared to the Canucks’ one-for-six.
Two nights earlier, the Pirates won 5-2 to win their first of the series. Pat Rowan’s power play goal and Joseph Sylvain’s penalty shot goal gave the Pirates a 2-0 lead.

Rob Lemay scored the only goal of the second period and Kramer scored just past the six-minute mark of the third to make it 4-0.
It looked like the Pirates were home-free until Dion Knelson took a tripping major with 10:59 left. Dolan Bjornson and Dustin Bahm scored on the ensuing power play to make it 4-2 but it was as close as the Canucks would get. Sylvain’s second of the night was added insurance.

The Canucks were two-for-seven on the power play while the Pirates scored on their lone change.

The Pirates outshot the Canucks 39-28.
Game 5 is in Dawson Creek March 21, and Game 6 in Peace River March 23. If necessary, Game 7 is in Dawson Creek March 25.

History against the Pirates

In their history, the Pirates are a miserable 1-16 in series when they trailed 2-0. They lost their first 12 series before storming back from a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Grimshaw Huskies in 2013-14. The Pirates have since lost four straight series.

Meanwhile, the Canucks have never lost a series they led 2-0. They have won all seven series after taking a 2-0 lead.
Teams leading the NPHL Final 2-0 are 31-5 in 36 previous series. The only teams to come back from a 2-0 deficit are:
1954 – Fairview Monarchs defeated the Peace River Stampeders in seven games.
1969 – Peace River defeated the Grimshaw Huskies in six games.
1988 – Grimshaw defeated the Manning Comets in six games.
1992 – Grimshaw defeated the High Prairie Regals in six games.
2006 – Spirit River Rangers defeated the Grande Prairie Athletics in six games.
When teams lead the NPHL final 2-0, they have won the series in four games 19 times, five games five times, six games five times and twice in seven games.

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