Well, that was fun!
In the first official Calgary Flames in-game action since mid-April, the Calgary Flames’ prospects gathered in Penticton, BC for the annual Young Stars Classic Tournament. They began their 2014-15 hockey season with a 6-4 victory over the Winnipeg Jets’ prospects.
Joni Ortio began the game holding off the Jets. The first period contained a series of Flames penalties, allowing Ortio to continually bar the proverbial door to keep the Jets at bay – including strong play on a 5-on-3. Alas, the Jets’ Austen Brassard broke the deadlock on a goal-mouth scramble to give Winnipeg a 1-0 lead heading into the intermission. Shots were 10-5 Winnipeg.
The Flames tied it up early in the second a goal-mouth scramble; Michael Ferland got credit for the goal but Josh Jooris was also in the mix and helped out. However, the Jets soon responded, taking a 2-1 lead off a nice offensive zone effort from Nikolaj Ehlers. They went up 3-1 on a goal by the Jets’ Jimmy Lodge. Calgary crept closer after John Ramage slapped the 3-2 goal home, but almost immediately afterwards Ben Walker scored to make it 4-2. Not deterred, Johnny Gaudreau scored a gorgeous goal off a scramble just inside the blueline. Late in the period, Markus Granlund tied it up at 4-4. Shots were 13-11 Calgary in the second.
The Flames pulled away in the third period. Michael Ferland scored his second of the game six minutes in, and then Josh Jooris capped the game off with an empty-netter. The Flames led the period in shots 12-5 and for the game overall by a 34-26 margin.
WHY THE FLAMES WON
They weathered the storm. Well, two of them. First, they didn’t panic when they took three straight minors in the first period and gave the Jets tons of good chances to take hold of the game. Second, they didn’t panic when the Jets scored three goals in a three minute span in the second period, instead rolling with the punches and scoring a couple of their own to stay close.
A lot of strong contenders, including Johnny Hockey, but I’ll be a contrarian and go with Markus Granlund. #60 scored a goal, was always dangerous, and led the entire game with 7 credited shots on goal (and many other chances). Not bad for a guy whose season ended early with an injury.
SUM IT UP
Calgary won a hockey game! They’ll try to win another tomorrow night when they take on their most bitter, hated rivals, the dastardly Edmonton Oilers. If you can’t tell, they probably don’t like the Oilers very much. Expect fisticuffs and physicality.
The Battle of Alberta is rekindled at 8:30pm MT on Sportsnet 960 The Fan and via webcast on the Calgary Flames website.