The opening game of the Young Stars Classic tournament was basically two games for the Calgary Flames. In the first two periods (and change), the Flames played a structured, poised game against the Edmonton Oilers. Then a couple bounces and a couple goals went against them and everything fell apart.
It’s a shame, too, because the final 4-2 score (for Edmonton) really doesn’t reflect how well either team played.
The first period was as sloppy and disjointed as September prospect hockey can get, but despite a series of power plays neither team managed a goal. Shots were 11-8 Calgary, and the highlights were a couple big hits by Josh Healey (who else?) on Joseph Gambardella and by Glenn Gawdin on Trey Fix-Wolansky.
The Flames took control in the second. Juuso Valimaki opened the scoring with a nice wrister through traffic.
— Ryan Biech (@ryanbiech) September 8, 2017
Chad Butcher tied things up with Josh Healey in the penalty box, as a series of weird bounces ended with a rebound right on Butcher’s stick for a tap-in goal and a tied game. Calgary answered back before the period was up, though, as Mark Jankowski made it 2-1 with a nice wrister off the rush.
— Ryan Biech (@ryanbiech) September 9, 2017
Shots were 8-6 Edmonton.
Things well apart in the third. After the Flames were robbed on a nice passing play by Matthew Phillips, the puck went the other way and Butcher beat Tyler Parsons on a breakaway to make it 2-2. Immediately after, Evan Polei tipped a shot past Parsons to make it 3-2. Finally, Kirill Maksimov took advantage of a defensive giveaway by the Flames in their own end and beat Parsons with a wrister from the top of the circles to make it 4-2. The Flames pressed late, but couldn’t generate enough clean chances – and Dylan Wells was very sharp in the Edmonton net. Shots were 11-9 Flames in the third.
Why The Flames Lost
They folded like a house of cards when the Oilers scored early in the third. The Oilers pushed and the Flames couldn’t muster up much of a push back until late in the game, when it was too late.
It also doesn’t hurt that when the game was on the line, Wells was better than Parsons. You can’t blame Parsons for any of the three third period goals, but you’d hope he could mix in a save on one of those three with the game on the line.
Let’s go with Jankowski, who was a good puck distributor on the power play and scored a nice goal. The whole top five were good, though: Valimaki and Rasmus Andersson on the blueline with Jankowski, Spencer Foo and Andrew Mangiapane up front.
This and That
Wearing the alternate captain’s As for the Flames were Kayle Doetzel, Hunter Smith and Jankowski. Nick Schneider dressed as backup goaltender.
The Flames are off tomorrow, then back at it at Sunday at 3 p.m. when they face the Vancouver Canucks.