Athletics Advance

Athletics Conclude Regular Season

While the playoff picture in the NPHL is set there was only one thing left to play for on Saturday night in the NPHL, that being who would be the Lawrence Cup Champions.

The Lawrence Cup is awarded to the NPHL regular season leader at the conclusion of the NPHL regular season.

Despite being tied with the East leading Manning Comets the Grande Prairie Athletics held the tiebreaker with a win earlier in the season against the Comets and had the opportunity to become the first West division team in awhile to capture the trophy.

The Spirit River Rangers had a different plan.

Both teams knew their playoff opponent coming into Saturday nights game and while it may have been a meaningless game in the West standings it didnt play out like one. Of course one shouldn’t expect any different when these two teams meet.

Spirit River started strong outshooting the Athletics in the first 19 to 6. Each team would manage a few powerplay opportunities but nothing could connect on either side as both teams would conclude the opening twenty scoreless.

The same story rang true for the second as neither team could find the net behind each teams starting goalie (A’s Walker and Rangers Wright).

Scoreless heading into the third it would appear that the first goal would be the winner.

Sure enough, it was.

At 13:51 of the third period Rangers forward Dustin Sather would bang home a loose puck on the goal line to give Spirit a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. The Rangers would add two more in the third period, one shorthanded, as they wrapped up the regular season handing the Athletics only their fifth loss of the season.

While the disappointment of not capturing the Lawrence Cup was talked about Grande Prairie now sets its sights on something bigger, that being the Campbell Cup. The Athletics haven’t hoisted the coveted trophy in quite some time as it has eluded them since 2010.

With a very competitive West division playoffs shaping up and stronger teams showing gearing up in the East it will undoubtedly make for an exciting and tough NPHL playoffs.

Grande Prairie will kick off their quest this Tuesday night in game one of the West Division Semi-finals as they host the Dawson Creek Canucks at the Coca Cola Centre starting at 8:30pm.

Scoring Summary

First Period:
No Scoring

Shots On Goal
Grande Prairie: 6
Spirit River: 19

Second Period:
No Scoring

Shots On Goal
Grande Prairie:11
Spirit River: 11

Third Period:
SR – 13:51 – #33 Dustin Sather from #77 JM St. Pierre
SR – 8:12 – #27 Evan Boire from #20 Trevor Mazurek and #5 Mac Putio (SH)
SR – 1:55 – #9 Dan Nichols

Shots On Goal:
Grande Prairie: 7
Spirit River: 11

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *