Post-Game: Flames leave Penticton with a winning record

(That eyeblack. That hair. My goodness.)

The future in Calgary looks bright. Coming off of what appears to be a second straight excellent draft, a collection of hopeful faces – some old, many new – dressed for two games in Penticton.

And then there was a third. Having won one dominantly 4-1, and having lost one by the skin of their teeth in overtime, the baby Flames were looking to come away not just with a winning record, but on a good note – because next up is training camp, where players get cut and names really start to stand out.

It would go down to the wire again, but this time, it worked out.

The rundown

There wasn’t anything in the way of goals in the first period, even as the Flames largely controlled the frame. Front and centre in this were Matthew Tkachuk and Mark Jankowski, who showed off the chemistry they’ve developed over the course of this tournament. The two generated a number of good chances, but Canucks netminder Thatcher Demko was there to stop them at every turn.

The trio of Andrew Mangiapane, Dillon Dube, and Eetu Tuulola were also pretty fun to watch, showing off some moves every now and then – Mangiapane especially – but it was Tkachuk and Jankowski who stole the show in the first. Them, and the tough fight Ryan Lomberg got into with Yan-Pavel Laplante, for some reason.

Lomberg very nearly opened the scoring at the end of the first, but he just hesitated on a cross-ice pass from Mangiapane, which gave Demko just enough time to get over and rob him.

It was in the second period where both teams found their offensive games. Michael Carcone was the first to break through, three minutes into the second off of a quick, clean zone entry. The puck was in and out before Nick Schneider even had a chance; Kenney Morrison was the last defender back, but it was all he could do to flop down to the ice and fail to obstruct Carcone’s shot.

But just 59 seconds later, Dennis Kravchenko tied it off of a Tuulola point shot.

Lomberg finally got himself on the board for real shortly after, collecting the puck off of a failed passing attempt by the Canucks at their blueline. He went in all alone, and made it 2-1 for the Flames on his own.

Tyler Parsons swapped in for Schneider at the halfway mark, and his teammates welcomed him immediately by going on the penalty kill, courtesy of Morrison standing up to Curtis Valk a little too well and knocking him down. But even though it was a Canucks powerplay, it was Jankowski who had the best chances – first on a shorthanded breakaway, and then off of the ensuing penalty shot thanks to interference – but Demko prevented him from increasing the Flames’ lead.

The Flames ended up on a powerplay soon after thanks to a Jordan Subban unsportsmanlike penalty. While the Flames had some pretty good puck movement on their man advantages – if, occasionally, a little too much perimeter play – the Canucks killed it off, and tied the game at two when Subban exited the box and jumped into the rush to capitalize.

And then it was 3-2 for Vancouver when Laplante, parked in front of the net, deflected a Marco Roy shot past Parsons and in.

The Flames wouldn’t go back to their dressing room down, though; not if Tuulola had anything to do with it. A Morrison point shot created a bit of chaos for Demko, and resulted in Tuulola picking up his own rebound and tying the game at three.

The Flames and Canucks traded plenty of chances through the third period, but neither could find the net. Calgary took four straight penalties to keep giving the Canucks chances (here’s number three, courtesy of none other than Tkachuk), occasionally spaced out with scoring chances of their own (Keegan Kanzig alone in the slot? Sure, why not! That was probably the highlight of the Flames’ many shorthanded attempts).

But the Canucks couldn’t capitalize with the man advantage, and the Flames couldn’t capitalize shorthanded, so it was off to overtime we went.

… In which the Flames took another penalty, this time courtesy of an Austin Carroll high-stick on Cole Cassels, because of course. But this just gave the Flames one last penalty kill to give them the chance to finally score – and they did, courtesy of another Lomberg breakaway that turned into the game winner.

Why the Flames won

The penalty kill.

The Flames countered the Canucks perfectly in the second period, able to stay toe-to-toe with them as far as scoring went. But it was like they were trying to burn themselves in the third period, only their penalty killers simply wouldn’t let them, and occasionally got more chances to score than the Canucks did on their own powerplays.

And then, of course, the fact that the actual game-winning goal came on the kill. The kill didn’t just save their asses; it won it.

Red warrior

There are a lot of choices here, any of the Flames’ goalscorers chief among them. Kravchenko showed a lot of smarts, had a huge hit, and had that great tip for the Flames; Lomberg was all over the ice, fighting, drawing penalties, killing penalties, showing tenacity by basically playing ice soccer at one point and keeping the puck moving up the ice even after he lost his stick; Tuulola was an impressive presence throughout the night both from the point and in front of the net in particular.

And in addition to those guys, there were more celebrated names who were simply all over the ice. Dube, Mangiapane, Tkachuk (although he needs to learn to calm down), Jankowski.

But come on – in addition to being everywhere, Lomberg got the game winner. It’s an easy choice; he just happened to cement it with the final play of the game.

Up next

Training camp. Thursday. We’re almost there, folks.

  • Prototype369

    Austin Carroll absolutely did not belong on the top line with Jankowski and Tkachuk. Not to say he didn’t play good, but his spot would have been better filled by Lomberg or Tuulola, who have the speed and skill to keep up with our first round picks.

    BTW, Jankowski played amazing. I’m honestly blown away by how much he’s exceeded expectations. Defensively sound, skillful with the puck, great hockey IQ, nothing to say of his chemistry with Tkachuk.

    Mangiapane finally showed hints of his brilliance, keeping plays alive in the offensive zone, even dancing around some Canucks defenders. I’m glad Huska gave him more ice time as he gained confidence in his play.

    Tkachuk felt like he was trying to do too much, but even still, kids a monster. He deserves a 9 game stint in the regular season, and him and Bennett are gonna be GOAT.

    On a less optimistic note, package McDonald with Wideman and ship him to New Jersey. At this point I can’t decide who’s a worse pick, him or Hunter Smith.

  • Aadvarkian Abakeneezer

    I have to believe that if Lomberg can crack the show he has the potential to be the most annoying player who has ever lived. The energy he has for generally getting in the faces of absolutely everybody is incredible. Fun to watch.

    • cberg

      Lomberg needs to be signed to a Flames deal now. The guy was terrific all weekend, playing all situations, annoying, terrific PK and fore-check and scored. What else is he supposed to do?

      Dube really impressed me as well, that guy is a fury of energy, great puck control and IQ. Also impressed with usual guys mentioned above. Overall a very good tournament and looking forward to TC.

  • smatic10

    Did one of these individual player reviews for game 1, thought I’d do another one for this game. Again, feel free to disagree or critique (especially since I’m typing this two hours after the game and relying solely on my memory).

    Lomberg: Goal scorer 2 and 4. Let’s forget about the two goals and his fight for a second. The main thing I’ve noticed from him after two Penticton tournaments is his high hockey IQ. Solid positioning in all zones. He’s a bull out there when he’s going after the puck, just relentless puck pursuit. Very strong and pretty quick. And of course we’ve seen that he has some offensive flair. His first goal tonight was an absolute snipe and he held his own in his fight. Very impressed with him.

    Tkachuk: Obviously this was his worst game. Turned the puck over several times. Sometimes tries too much with the puck instead of making the simple pass. Took another ill-advised penalty, this time at a critical time in the third. But make no mistake about it, this kid competes and cares. He was visibly frustrated with himself in this one. Still lots to like about his game. His ability to play the goal line on the PP excites me. He makes quick one touch passes that still surprise me. Imagine having Monny receiving those passes instead of Carroll.

    Aagaard: Bottom line is, he is effective when he’s out there. Wins puck battles and has a good shot. He’s performed really well as a try-out.

    Andersson: Solid on the defensive end. Don’t recall his lack of speed causing any issues in this one. He had a half breakaway where we wired a puck top-left which was stopped. If he could shoot like that more often, it would certainly help his game.

    Kylington: Guys, am I the only one who sees a night and day difference in his defensive play? He’s getting to the puck first and getting it out quickly. His skating is sensational. He took less risks in the offensive zone which was nice to see.

    Dube: He’s been one of the biggest surprises in my eyes. Before ever watching him play, I was expecting an Alex Tanguay type player. One who can make plays but isn’t exactly dependable and gives up on plays when the puck is turned over. Man, was I wrong. This kid wins face-offs and holds on to the puck in the defensive end until the right pass is available. Lightning quick hands too. He nearly scored the winner in OT on a nice cut-in move but hit the post. He’s also tougher to knock off the puck than you’d expect.

    Pollock: Just solid overall. Nothing fancy but he was solid and made few mistakes. He made a nice little pass to spring Dube on the breakaway. Not much else to say.

    Carroll: He competes out there. That’s all you can really ask of him. He’s not as offensively talented as Janko and Tkachuk so he struggled to put the puck in the net while playing with them.

    Kanzig: Best game I’ve seen him play. Made a couple tape to tape passes. Had an active stick defensively.

    Tuulola: Goal scorer number 3. I’m a huge fan. Him fighting for pucks really is a sight to see. Doesn’t give up and is ridiculously strong. Has a nice touch around the net.

    Jankowski: His hockey intelligence is always on display. Liked his 200 ft game again. He has a decent shot, he should definitely use it more. He needs to stay on his skates though, once he falls down he doesn’t have the speed to recover.

    Mangiapane: Really good game. He held onto the puck a lot more which makes him effective.

    Bruce: Didn’t notice him in a bad way. Didn’t really notice him at all tbh.

    Hyman: Was danced around and was forced to hook/trip his guy on a play. So that wasn’t nice. Other than that, can’t think of anything to say.

    Kravchenko: Goal scorer number 1. Great tip for the goal. Overall he was involved all night so he played well.

    Parsons: Can’t really fault him too much on the goals against. His compete level is always evident. Never gives up on the puck. Plays an unorthodox style that involves him moving a lot so it is rather risky. Some proper goalie coaching and I can see this kid going places.

    Schneider: Was alright. Someone help me out.

    Morrison: A better game than the previous two. I just don’t see enough from him when he’s on the ice. I may be overly critical but I don’t know, he hasn’t given me a reason to be a fan.

    Doucet and Sevigny: Someone help me out.

    • Prototype369

      I agree with your review. I was watching the game on the YouTube stream, not live, so obviously you were watching the full ice, while I could only see where the camera was pointing. But Schneider, in my opinion, played very bold and aggressive. Not risky or flashy, but very challenging, using good initial squaring up rather than agility to stop pucks. Like a very, very poor man’s Lundquist. Mangiapane showed why he scored 106 points in the OHL last year. I didn’t see any of the laziness people were complaining Andersson was showing. He played amazing. Kylington is probably the best skater I’ve ever seen. His judgement defensively needs a lot of work, but his skating is elite. Kanzig actually played well for a big guy, no random stretch passes, no lapse of concentration leading to icings, good tape to tape passes. Faucet played minimally, and was serviceable, that’s about it. Sevigny played a good physical game, but everything else left quite a bit to be desired.

    • cberg

      Agree with all your observations. Great summary. I thought the try-outs did ok, but nothing outstanding (Doucette, Sevigney, Hyman).

      To me Lomberg, Dube and Tuulola the biggest revelations. All were excellent every game played.

  • Derzie

    Being focused on the Flames rather than the farm(s), I look at this tourney from 2 perspectives: Is anyone ready for the Flames? and Do we have good prospects for the future. My take is no one is ready for the NHL. For part 2 the best player this weekend was a low ceiling spark plug. The rest ranged from decent (may see the NHL) to meh (forget it). Overall letter grade C. One thing I see happening is Janko becoming the successor to Backlund as a Flames Nation stalwart. Like Backlund, his 2 way game will take a while to percolate, but will payoff in years to come.

  • everton fc

    I missed this one, but I like what I’m reading about the following players;

    Lomberg – How can anyone not love this kid? He’ll be a Flame someday
    Carroll – He seems to have had a decent tournament – here’s hoping the time w/two better players helps him this season in Stockton
    Dube – He’ll be a good one.
    Kylington – Though I still think he needs to get his head around the mental aspects of the game, he’s could be an elite player.
    Jankowski – We’ve all hoped he get this far.
    Pollock – Like many here, I wish he’d had more time with Tkachuk and Jankowski.
    Aagaard – Sign him and send him to Stockton, if there’s room.
    Tuulola – He was an amazing late round pick. I like him a lot.
    Dyukov – A nice surprise.
    Kravchenko – Do we have room for him, in Stockton?

    Tkachuk needs to control his emotions, but he’ll be a good NHL player. Andersson seems to make the odd bad pass, and I don’t see him ever being a 1/2 d-man. But he’ll play here soon. We’ll all have a better sense of Mangiapane in the “A”. Ditto Kanzig, if he can make the team. Glad Schneider played well. McDonald was not strong.

    Morrison was the oldest guy in Penticton. He did not impress. Not good for him. Perhaps Kanzig should get his minutes in Stockton?!

  • Dan the flames fan

    I agree with a lot that was said. I think Tkachuk needs to understand the difference between exuberance and irresponsibility, or he’ll be more of a liability then an asset to the team. Mangipane was really good, but I think when he learns to gain space for himself, he will be incredibly dangerous. Stockton will be a great learning curve. Lomberg used this tournament as a great way to showcase himself. Well done, Ryan!

    • cberg

      As far as Tkachuk’s (and others’) penalties goes, I’m a bit wary of putting too much into it. He was obviously trying to make an impression and support his teammates (accomplished) but I would also say it seemed a lot of the calls seemed pretty marginal to me.

  • While Jankowski did pleasantly surprise me overall, I think that is more because of the low expectations rather than the stellar level of play.

    He is fantastic at puck retrieval, and has a nice crisp pass up ice when in open ice.

    The problem is he panics with the puck on his stick when a defender is nearby, his offensive zone instincts seemed to be a step behind.

    I wonder how he would do playing from the blueline…

    • Backburner

      I know he’s already 22, but it took Backlund until he was 24/25 before he really developed a solid game.

      The more I see Jankowski, the more I see him developing into a Backlund type player, he just needs a little more time to iron those wrinkles in his game out.