After Friday’s strong opening night game against Winnipeg, there’s a good chance the Calgary Flames hoped to run the table in Penticton and go undefeated at the Young Stars Classic.
Well, that won’t happen now after tonight’s game with the Edmonton Oilers. And a familiar script was used, albeit with the roles reversed. Following a season where the Flames kept pulling out improbable comebacks, the Oilers put up one of their own; coming back from 2-0 and 3-1 deficits to beat the Flames 6-3.
The Flames carried the play in the first, leading in shots 20-11 and generating a lot of chances. Towering Hunter Smith opened the scoring mid-way through the period, with Andrew Mangiapane – always buzzing around – converting a minute and change later to make it 2-0 after the first period.
The Oilers charged back in the second, leading in shots 11-8 and really limiting what the Flames could do, not giving them much time or space to operate. There were also eight penalties given out that resulted in changes to the man advantage, so perhaps the referees got bored. Anyhow, the Oilers got a goal from Josh Winquist three minutes in the draw closer, but a power-play marker from Bill Arnold (off a nifty feed from Rasmus Andersson) reinstated Calgary’s two-goal lead at 3-1. However, David LaLeggia scored on a late-period power-play to make it 3-2 at the intermission for the gentlemen in red.
The Oilers continued their momentum in the final frame, though. They doubled-up the Flames in shots 12-6, never a good sign in a one-goal game. They tied it up off a great back-handed pass from Leon Draisaitl that Braden Christoffer tapped past Mason McDonald. Midway through the frame, Draisaitl was awarded a penalty shot after a contact during a scoring chance with Ryan Lomberg – Draisaitl tucked it under McDonald to give the Oilers a 4-3 lead. The Flames pulled their goalie and Edmonton got empty-netters from Josh Winquist and Connor Rankin to ice it by a final score of 6-3.
Oh, and already missing Oliver Kylington after yesterday’s game (he’s expected to practice tomorrow), the Flames ended up playing roughly half the game with a short bench again after Ryan Culkin left the game in the second after an awkward collision. I’m not saying that contributed to the Oilers carrying play more and more as the game went on, but it definitely didn’t help.
Let’s go with Rasmus Andersson, who had a really nice assist on Arnold’s power-play goal and also got into a fight – his first fight EVER – with Edmonton’s Darnell Nurse. Another strong game from Andersson.
Also good: Andrew Mangiapane, Sam Bennett and Emile Poirier.
The Flames hope to leave British Columbia with a winning record in the tournament. They’ll have a chance to do just that on Monday night when they face off against the host Vancouver Canucks. That game is a 4:30pm MT start and can be see on the Flames site.