Tell me if you’ve heard this before: The Calgary Flames control the balance of the play for the majority of a hockey game, do some good things down low possession wise, and yet come away without a victory. That was very much the same for Flames prospects on Sunday night in Penticton, falling 6-1 at the hands of San Jose to open the 2011 Young Stars Tournament.
The Flames started off slow, but from about the five minute mark of the first period on, they were the team controlling the play. However, by that point it was already 2-0 San Jose, and the team couldn’t seem to buy a break offensively after that. Some unfortunate luck combined with some finishing issues and some difficulty moving to the scoring areas and things can very quickly turn into a frustrating game. San Jose’s goaltending tandem of Thomas Heemskerk and J.P. Anderson were also very good.
1. San Jose. Charles Inglis (Ben Thomson, Joe Antilla) 3:13
2. San Jose. Michael Sgarbossa (Brodie Reid) 4:45
3. San Jose. Trevor Cheek (Nathan Moon) 7:46
4. San Jose. Curt Gogol 16:07
5. San Jose. Brodie Reid (Michael Sgarbossa, Dylan Wruck) 0:57
6. San Jose. Sena Acolatse (Antoine Corbin, Joe Antilla) 7:51 (pp)
7. Calgary. Roman Horak (penalty shot) 15:35
Basically, it was a game where the Flames really controlled things for the first 30 minutes or so, but were down by 3-0 and 4-0 scores. In a lot of ways, it mirrored some of the issues the big club encountered for much of the last two seasons: possession, shots and chances but no rewards. And just like any other hockey team, frustration certainly started to set in as things went along.
It has to be said that Joni Ortio was not strong in net, as the Calgary keeper allowed all six goals, a number of them of the soft variety. The coaching staff attributed a lot it to Sunday being Ortio’s second game on North American ice, something that will very certainly need some work in the coming months. There’s a chance he might be back in net Monday, as he’s the one they need to give the most reps to.
One Good Reason…
…why the Flames lost? It would be easy to blame goaltending, but when you don’t score your first goal until late in the third period (on a penalty shot no less) it just isn’t accurate. Ortio was not very good, that’s accurate, however in this case he wasn’t the sole culprit. The Flames couldn’t score; bad luck, good opposing goaltending and an inability later on to get to scoring areas all played their part.
I’ll go Max Reinhart, because he was the best player on Calgary’s best line on Sunday. He and Patrick Holland were both very strong and worked really well as a forward pair, but Reinhart specifically stood out. His first period opportunity was created entirely by himself shorthanded and almost lead to a Flames goal…twice. He was strong possession wise, good in his own end, physical and made things happen offensively.
Sum It Up
Some good things for the Flames prospects, some bad things for the Flames prospects. Bench boss Troy Ward was fairly happy with the overall scope of the game, in terms of structure and adherance to it. But, clearly there were some defensive lapses and some goals that shouldn’t have gone in, so, it’s back to it on Monday.