After falling 6-1 to the San Jose Sharks Sunday night, Flames prospects are back on the ice tonight in Penticton for a game against the host Vancouver Canucks (5 pm, Sportsnet). Both teams lost their openers at the Young Stars Tournament, with the Canucks falling 7-2 to the Oilers in the late game on Sunday. It’s an opportunity for a number of Flames to bounce back, most notably goaltender Joni Ortio, who will get the start once again.
Ortio was in net for all six goals last night and did not have a good night. You can attribute some of that to adjusting to North American ice along with a little rust, but it doesn’t change the fact he didn’t have a good night either. We’ll see if things are a little better tonight, and we’ll also see if he’s kept in for the entire game this time around.
Up front, Calgary will make a number of changes as expected. The veteran line of Mitch Wahl, Lance Bouma and Greg Nemisz will not play tonight, joining Carter Bancks, Roman Horak, and Ryan Howse as scratches up front. The Wahl line had some nice stretches against San Jose, as they should, all having a season of pro hockey under their belts. The one issue they ran into was turning solid possession into quality scoring chances; we’ll likely see them back together Wednesday against the Oilers. Here are lines tonight:
Patrick Holland-Max Reinhart-Sven Baertschi
Michael Ferland-Dustin Sylvester-Bryan Cameron
Logan MacMillan-Gaelan Patterson-Blake Gal
C.J. Severyn-Justin Dowling-Turner Elson
Sylvester, Cameron, MacMillan, Severyn, Dowling, and Elson will all play for the first time in the tournament. I’m interested to watch Cameron specifically, as he had a difficult transition to the pro game last year with Abbotsford. After scoring 53 goals in his final year of OHL hockey, he had just six with the Heat last season; I talked to him at length on Sunday, and I’ll have an article up later this week.
No surprise seeing Holland and Reinhart back together; Troy Ward spoke very highly of their work following Sunday’s loss, and now they get a chance to have the skilled Baertschi on their flank. Those three forwards were the three best against the Sharks, as Holland and Reinhart can play it both ways; they did a nice job with possession. Adding the offensive weapons of Baertschi should be very interesting.
A few changes on the blueline, as Joey Leach is the notable name sitting out. T.J. Brodie and Chris Breen will be the focus for a lot of interested observers tonight after their rough outing against the Sharks. Both guys looked really out of sync and we hope to see a lot more tonight, especially defensively. I thought John Negrin had a strong first period, and aside from a couple oops moments in the final 40 minutes, was the top Flames defenceman throughout.
Peter Kosterman-Chris Breen
John Negrin-James Martin
Reid Jackson-T.J. Brodie
Photo courtesy HitmenHockey.com
Kosterman is a Calgary Hitmen product playing on a tryout basis. I talked to him today and he’s got a really good head on his shoulders and is very well adjusted. On top of that, he seems to be handling the pressure of playing on a tryout very well. In his first game, he says he’s focused on not trying to be too noticeable, knowing if he plays his game the people who matter will take note.
No word on who is in or out for the Canucks tonight after they were shelled 7-2 by Edmonton the night before. We do know the ten players who did not play skated this morning, so you’ll likely see these players get some ice time tonight:
- Antoine Roussel, Providence (AHL)
- Stefan Schneider, Manitoba (AHL)
- Andrew Smith, Victoriaville (QMJHL)
- Steven Janes, Ottawa (OHL)
- Ryan Harrison, Everett (WHL)
- Kellen Tochkin, Medicine Hat (WHL)
- Marc Anthony Zanetti, Ottawa (OHL)
- Craig Duininck, Windsor (OHL)
- Ian Saab, Lewiston (QMJHL)
- Brendan Jensen, Vancouver (WHL)
It was a rough night for David Honzik in net for the Canucks, as he had some struggles during his time on the ice. Granted, the team in front of him had some rather glaring defensive miscues. Up front, Darren Archibald came away with two points, as he paced Vancouver’s most impressive line along with Alex Friesen and Nicklas Jensen.
Sunday’s game was the first of a preseason tournament for Flames prospects, so getting too worried about a 6-1 loss is a little silly. In fact, the 6-1 score wasn’t even indicitave of how the prospects played, as they carried the play for the majority of the contest. Seeing Ortio bounce back would be nice, more for the kid than for the organization; regardless of his tournament, Ortio is still thought of very highly by the team.