A’s host Flyers in Divisional Tilt

Fort St. John Flyers (3-2-0) 3rd in West vs Grande Prairie Athletics (5-0-0) 1st in West

Barring any late minute trouble from mother nature we should see an NPHL game featuring the Grande Prairie Athletics finally when they host the Fort St. John Flyers Thursday night at the Coca Cola Centre.

Since opting out of AAA playdowns and a shot at the Allan Cup the Fort St. John Flyers have had somewhat of an up and down season thus far. With only five games played to date the Flyers haven’t really had a whole lot of opportunity to assert themselves and with all the talk of the A’s having two weeks off and having to shake off the rust the Flyers on the other hand have had to suffer game cancellations as much as Grande Prairie.

Fort St. John sits with a 3 and 2 record heading into Thursday nights matchup. Their first win came in a defeat of the Canucks early on in the NPHL season, the second win came without playing a game when Lakeland forfeited, and their third was this past Saturday drubbing the Hythe Mustangs 19 to 1 in a fight filled affair. While the A’s have only played five games thus far the Flyers, despite a 3 and 2 record, have only played four.

This will be the second meeting between both the clubs with Grande Prairie holding the early 1 to 0 lead in the season series. If any positive can be shared in regards to either team having all this time off it almost certainly would have to do with any nagging injuries that either team may have.

The Big Story:I dont think there is any other bigger story then the Athletics having to get back into game shape. In an untypical fashion the A’s have endured an early “Christmas” break before the actual NPHL break has happened.

The last time Grande Prairie played a meaningful game it was back on November 14th defeating the Hythe Mustangs by a 9 to 4 final. Two game cancellations and this past weekend off the A’s will need to be sharp and get off to a strong start to slow down the Flyers.

Fort St. John will roll into the Coca Centre riding an offensive high after scoring 19 goals in their previous game. While both teams have played some high scoring games early on this season you should almost expect it to be another low scoring, tight checking affair.

Team Scope:After having suffered a handful of injuries very early on this season the two week layoff has helped heal some bumps and bruises for Grande Prairie. A full lineup is expected (depending on work commitments of course).

What that lineup will be is yet to be seen.

Fort St. John on the other hand will enter Thursday nights game with the possibility of some suspensions. As of this writing we were unsure of what suspensions (if any) were handed out in the Flyers 19 to 1 over the Mustangs this past weekend. The game was filled with penalties, fights and a line brawl which saw Flyer net minder Jared Anderson involved.

Regardless of suspensions or other work commitments both teams are expected to have a full lineup.

Outlook:Most games between both clubs have typically been close. There have been occurrences, as typically is the case in the NPHL, where one team will open the flood gates but this early in the season and as another important divisional matchup fans should expect another exciting NPHL hockey game.

The Athletics have started strong in four of five games played this season scoring first, with some potential rust having settled in they will hope to score early once more to regain some of the form that has pushed them to a 5 and 0 start.

Previous Matchups:
Fort St. John (2) at Grande Prairie (4) – October 26th, 2013 (Recap)

Gameday:Join us tonight at the Coca Cola Centre, game time is scheduled for 8:30pm with warmup beginning at 8:00pm. If you can’t make it to the game be sure to tune into the Athletics twitter account (twitter.com/GPAthletics) for intermission updates.

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