For the third straight contest at the Young Stars Classic tournament, the Calgary Flames opened the scoring. For the second straight game, the Flames had a heck of a time holding a lead. Tonight, in the final game of the tournament, the host Vancouver Canucks battled back from 1-0 and 2-1 deficits to force overtime. Then they won in a pretty entertaining 3-on-3 overtime via a Jake Virtanen break-away goal.
The Flames finish the tournament with a regulation win, a regulation loss and an overtime loss – finishing exactly at .500 at the event.
An unlikely source opened the scoring for Calgary; try-out winger Julien Proulx took advantage of a broken play and fired a shot past Clay Witt to make it 1-0. The Flames out-shot Vancouver 9-5 in the first.
But like the other two games Calgary played, they seemed to let the opposition creep back in. Vancouver out-shot Calgary 14-6 in the second, with some big Jon Gillies saves keeping things close. Gillies was finally beaten late by Dane Fox with five minutes left in the second after a Kenney Morrison turnover in the neutral zone gave Fox a wide-open chance (and a rebound). Gillies played the first 40 minutes and made 18 saves. Morgan Klimchuk put Calgary up 2-1 late in the second off an awful line change by the Canucks and a neat passing play with Mason Marchment and Pavel Karnaukhov, leading to a wrister that beat Jackson Whistle.
The third was another back-and-forth period, albeit with Vancouver pushing the pace and slightly leading in shots 10-8. But all Vancouver needed was a good bounce; Patrick Sieloff tried a cross-ice pass behind the net to partner Kenney Morrison. Unfortunately, Sieloff hit the side of the net instead of Morrison, and Rodrigo Abols shoved the puck past Nick Schneider to tie the game up at 2-2.
A period of three-on-three overtime followed, with big chances off the rush going both ways. The Flames players got caught up ice on a scoring chance that rebounded out to center ice, where Jake Virtanen turned on the jets, grabbed the puck and beat Schneider for a dramatic OT winner.
I’m gonna go with the two Flames goalies. We know that Jon Gillies is pretty good, but Nick Schneider – who’s Medicine Hat’s starter in the WHL – got his first sniff of action and actually looked pretty good. Neither goalie got a ton of help from their defense, and both had to make a couple nifty desperation saves.
Honourable mention to Andrew Mangiapane, Bill Arnold and Morgan Klimchuk, who were all noticeable.
FOR THE CURIOUS
Players that suited up for all three Young Stars games: Bill Arnold, Austin Carroll, Pavel Karnaukhov, Andrew Mangiapane and Emile Poirier.
Didn’t play at all: Tomas Soustal and Louick Marcotte.
The Flames return home! Tomorrow’s the golf tournament, Wednesday’s the annual game against the University of Calgary Dinos, and then main camp kicks off at the end of the week.