September 15 2010 12:03AM
I'll keep this fairly short tonight. There are nights when things just don't quite work out in spite of a decent effort, and for the Heat-in-waiting this evening, that was the type of evening they endured as they dropped a 5-3 decision to the baby Grease in Penticton. A shaky first period and five minutes of serial defensive ineptitude in the second allowed the Oiler kids enough chances to seal matters, despite being out-shot 37-35 by the Flame prospects in a reasonably entertaining tilt for a practice game.
For the Flames, I enjoyed the work of T.J. Brodie again, and I'm at the point where I hope he gets a game or two in the main camp, mostly to see how he'll attempt to adapt to stronger players. He's nowhere near ready physically, IMO, but he does appear to think the game in a way that 20 year old defenders normally don't manage. As much as anything, I'd like to see if his obvious skating ability against his peers translates when he faces his elders. He and John Negrin are the best of the Flame D prospects at this tournament by a fair margin.
Leland Irving was also acceptable. He really got hung out to dry by his teammates a few times, with Edmonton's second goal coming on a 2 on 1 after a particularly egregious neutral zone turnover. He looked better than Matt Keetley did yesterday, at any rate. As for the forwards, Mikael Backlund improved as the evening progressed, and he and Jon Rheault were likely a bit unlucky that they didn't manage a goal in the third. Greg Nemisz was better than in his opener, with a nice goal after some good Lance Bouma work and a pretty fair night on the PK.
I didn't notice Mitch Wahl quite as much, as his line made a good push in the second, then fell off somewhat. A game like tonight's also underscores why Keith Seabrook will likely have a hard time moving higher than the A. His size is certainly a factor, but it's his somewhat enigmatic decision making that will keep him one rung below the elite.
For the bad guys, Chris Vande Velde was pretty fair, as the former Fighting Sioux showed what having a bit of experience on your side can do in this environment. Edmonton got a good night in net out of Tyler Bunz, and Alex Plante managed a pair of goals to lead the Oily attack. I don't expect any of the players the Oilers iced tonight to make the bigs as a regular any time soon, so the fact that they played the Flames even is good on them, and maybe not quite so good on Calgary's group, although the Flames did look the better side the last period and a half.
The Flames wrap up efforts in the Okanagan with a businessman's special Thursday afternoon versus the Canucks, starting at 1 PM MT.