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Post-Game: Flames kids out-gun Oilers

The first game of the preseason calendar – or the pre-preseason, as was the case on Sunday at the Scotiabank Saddledome – is always a strange game. Both teams are getting used to new linemates and new systems. Everyone’s trying not to get hurt and trying to make a good impression on their coaches. The Calgary Flames seemed to get what they needed to get out of their prospects Battle of Alberta clash with the Edmonton Oilers, winning 7-3 and seeing impressive performances from the handful of players involved that might factor into the NHL roster this season.

The Rundown

The two sides traded goals in the first period. Dillon Dube opened the scoring for the boys in red off a turnover in the neutral zone caused by Spencer Foo’ back-checking – the Dube, Foo and Andrew Mangiapane trio spent a shift in the Oilers’ zone by virtue of two or three turnovers they created. Dube drove the net and put a shot past Stuart Skinner to make it 1-0.

But Evan Bouchard drilled a slapshot through traffic that beat Tyler Parsons late in the period to make it 1-1. Scoring chances were 4-2 Edmonton in the opening frame.

The game opened up a lot in the second, with the teams seemingly adjusting to the wonky ice – a byproduct of last night’s Smashing Pumpkins concert – and making nice passes more frequently. The Flames went up 2-1 off a weird play: they were hemmed into their own end for ages but broke out awkwardly from their end off a dump-in that Brett Pollock whiffed on. But his whiff turned into an offensive zone entry, eventually leading to an Oliver Kylington shot that missed the net and left Pollock behind the net with plenty of time for a wrap-around goal to make it 2-1.

A little while later, Dube led his trio in on another odd-man rush. A few passes later and Mangiapane’s shot eked through Skinner’s pads to make it 3-1.

Jake Christiansen, with the Flames on an amateur try-out, made it 4-1 on a back-hand breakaway opportunity. He served a two minute minor for tripping, then stepped out and took a pass from Mangiapane that sprung him into the Edmonton zone. Scoring chances were 8-5 Flames in the second.

Dylan Wells came into the game in goal for Edmonton in the third period. He immediately was beaten by a Juuso Valimaki point shot from the far boards right after a faceoff to make it 5-1. Glenn Gawdin made it 6-1 by whacking in a rebound from an initial Matthew Phillips scoring chance. Caleb Jones and Cooper Marody added goals to make it close, but Pollock’s second of the game – a bad angle shot from below the faceoff circle – made it 7-3. Scoring chances were 7-5 Edmonton.

Why The Flames Won

The Flames buried their chances early and often, especially in the second period. The Oilers didn’t do that nearly as often and were chasing for much of the game.

Red Warrior

Let’s go with the joint Red Warrior honour to the top Flames line of Dube, Foo and Mangiapane. They drastically out-chanced the Oilers and factored in on three of the Flames’ seven goals.

The Turning Point

Mangiapane’s goal made it 3-1 and gave the Flames breathing room in the form of a two-goal lead. They never looked back.

This and That

There were three fights in this game: Zach Fischer fought Jared Wilson in the first period, Igor Merezhko fought Nolan Vesey in the second period, and Merezhko fought again in the third period against Joseph Gambardella.

Dube took out a linesman in the first period, getting tripped up by Caleb Jones and tumbling head-first into the linesman’s legs. The linesman left the game and one of the remaining referees finished the game acting as a linesman.

The Flames’ power play wasn’t great, and their defensive zone play left a lot to be desired. That said, it’s the first kick at the can and there’s a lot of time to make adjustments. It’s also their greenest roster they’ll ice all season.

Quotable

“I thought it was pretty good. It was a little bit choppy, you’re playing with new players and everything like that and trying to learn new systems, a little bit choppy but as a line I thought we did a pretty good job moving pucks and trying to make plays.” – Flames prospect Andrew Mangiapane on his line’s (with Spencer Foo and Dillon Dube) performance against the Oilers prospects.

“What we’re trying to do is give them a foundation. We want them to use their individual skills, and in order to do that they need to have a team plan. They need to have a bit of a foundation to play together on in order for their individual skills to shine through. So we want to look at it as ‘where are we in that respect?’ and we’ve got a lot of work to do in that respect. There’s going to be a lot of video that we can take from that and we can teach from.” – Stockton Heat head coach Cail MacLean assessing the Flames prospects’ overall team game in their win over the Oilers prospects.

Up Next

The Flames’ youngsters head up Highway 2 on Wednesday evening for a 7 p.m. clash with the Oilers prospects – it’s sold out, but it’ll be streamed by the clubs as this one was.