Pirates win 10th straight, lock up 2nd seed

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

The Dawson Creek Canucks posted the best record in the NPHL this season with a dazzling 16-1-1-0 record.

But they aren’t the hottest team in the league after regular season play concluded Feb. 4. That honour would go to the Falher Pirates, winners of 10 straight games, including one over the Canucks.

The Pirates won three games last week: 11-2 at Valleyview Jan. 30 against the Jets, 8-6 at Manning Feb. 3 against the Comets, and at home 5-3 over the Grande Prairie Athletics Feb. 4. The wins were all necessary for the Pirates to lock up the second overall seed.

The Pirates lost their first four games of the regular season: two in regulation time, one in overtime and one in a shootout, but since then are 12-1-0-1. Coach Daniel Aubin said all year that players had to trust the process, and that the team was building toward the playoffs. Now, many think they can win at all after earning a bye.

In Valleyview, the Pirates wasted no time deciding the outcome. They led 6-0 after one period and 8-1 after two.

Isaiah Letendre led the way with a hat trick while veteran Pat Rowan scored twice and added three assists. Josh Sylvain added a pair while team scoring leader Cruz Cote scored once and added four assists. Joseph Sylvain, Kris Desjarlais and Kevin Monfette added the others.

Drake Cunningham and Reid Dorscheid replied for the Jets, who were outshot 43-39.

At Manning, the Pirates came out like a house of fire leading 4-1 after one period. It is a far cry from the start of the year when the Pirates scored the first goal in only one of their first eight games. They increased the lead to 6-2 after two periods before the Comets rallied in the third to make it close.

Desjarlais scored four goals to lead the Pirates, including a shorthanded goal and the game-winner. Kramer, Eric Sorenson, Letendre and Josh Sylvain added the others. Cote, Kramer and Sorenson each added the assists.

Ethan Whillans and Josh Peters each scored twice for the Comets while Ty Wiebe and Kelton Johnson added the others.

The game was a feisty affair with 164 penalty minutes handed out, reminding fans of the old-time rivalry between the two bitter rivals. The Pirates were assessed 87 PIMs, the Comets 77 PIMs.

The Comets scored three times on nine power play chances to ruin the Pirates’ chances of setting the penalty efficiency mark for the season straight year. Oddly, by the end of the season the Pirates fell to second at 86.02 per cent behind the Comets’ league-leading 87.34 per cent.

The Pirates closed the season needing a win, overtime loss or shootout loss to clinch the second seed over the Athletics.

Khalin Marsolais opened the scoring for the Athletics but Kramer and Eric Dentinger each scored the first of two on the night to give the Pirates a 2-1 lead after one.

In the second, the aforesaid Kramer and Dentinger scored to make it 4-2 before Darby Berg scored to make it 4-2.

Dallas Brochu’s first-minute power play goal in the third period made it 5-2 before a late goal from Drew Welch ended the scoring.

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