Pirates win first place showdown over Comets

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

It has taken them weeks but the Falher Pirates are back in first place after a 4-2 win over the visiting Manning Comets Jan. 14.
Darren Kramer and Dallas Brochu scored power play goals while Eric Dentinger and Rob Lemay added the others as the Pirates overcame a 2-0 second period deficit with four straight third period goals.
Aric Schinke and Layne MacLean scored for the Comets to stake them to a 2-0 lead. They rode the hot goaltending of Braden Gamble to a two-period lead despite being outshot 36-19. Gamble would face 21 more shots in the third period and stop 18, the last goal scored into an empty net.
The Pirates and Comets both have 18 points after 14 games with six left. Currently, the Pirates would win any tiebreaker based on wins: the Comets have an overtime loss and a shootout loss to their credit.
However, the schedule does not favour the Pirates. In a scheduling quirk, the Pirates still have not played the league-leading Dawson Creek Canucks. They meet in Jan. 27 in Falher and Feb. 2 in the B.C. city. The Pirates also face the league’s second best team, Grande Prairie, at home Jan. 20. Games at Grimshaw Jan. 21 and at home Feb. 4 against Valleyview to end the season are easier, at least on paper.
They key might be the Jan. 28 game at Manning. It looks like Falher will have to win that game to have any chance at finishing first.
Manning also has played the least number of home games so far. Four of their last six are at home including Jan. 21 against Valleyview, Jan. 27 against Grande Prairie and Feb. 3 against Grimshaw. Road games are at last place Fort St. John Jan. 20 and Grimshaw Feb. 4 to end the season.
An undermanned Pirates squad made the trip to Spirit River Jan. 13 to play the surging Rangers, who are quickly rounding into playoff form after a poor start. The Pirates played without Kramer, Lemay and Denis Rochon due to suspension and the Rangers took full advantage no doubt wanting some revenge after the 8-0 beatdown they suffered at Falher Nov. 18.
Ryan Hartman led the Rangers to a 9-4 win with four goals. Mike Lefley added a pair while Jace Weegar, Brandon Bogdanek and Colin Lefley added the others.
Dentinger, Bailey Tokarz, Walker Cote and Joseph Sylvian replied for the Pirates.
The game was scoreless after one period before the Rangers scored five straight goals in the second to take a 5-0 lead, they led 6-2 after two.
This week, the Rangers host Grande Prairie Jan. 20 before traveling to Grimshaw Jan 21.

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