On Sunday afternoon in Calgary, the Flames dressed most of their top prospects and beat the Edmonton Oilers prospects handily. On Wednesday evening in Red Deer, they scratched three of their best players and pulled their top goalie prospect midway through the game. The result was still pretty similar, as the Flames skated to a 6-3 victory to conclude their rookie camp.
This will sound familiar, but the Flames weren’t great in their own end early on and the Oilers – on a high after laying a pummeling on NAIT and Grant McEwan on Tuesday – came right at ’em. Tyler Parsons held the Flames in, which allowed them to get their legs under them. Dillon Dube sprung Dmitry Zavgorodniy on a partial breakaway, allowing the young Russian to blow past Dmitri Samorukov and tuck the puck behind Olivier Rodrigue to go up 1-0. Shortly after, an Adam Ruzicka initial shot rebounded around the net-front and D’Artagnan Joly jumped on the loose puck to go up 2-0. Dube found Zavgorodniy again late in the period with a no-loose pass, allowing the Russian to one-time the feed to make it 3-0. Luke Esposito scored late in the period on a nifty back-hander that caught Parsons moving side-to-side to make it 3-1. Shots were 10-6 Oilers.
Parsons left the game at the midway point and was relieved by Mason McDonald. He allowed two goals on the first four shots he saw. The Flames got caught running around in their own end, leading to Cameron Hebig lasering a shot from the faceoff circle to make it 3-2. Later on, Josh Healey played the pass on a two-on-one. Samorukov’s shot was stopped by McDonald, but he booted the rebound right to Evan Polei for the tap in to tie the game at 3-3. Shots were 10-9 Oilers in the second.
But the Flames came back in the third period, with the Oilers putting Stuart Skinner in net. Jordan Ernst found Adam Ruzicka streaking into the offensive zone and he beat Skinner five-hole to make it 4-3. After three failed power plays the Flames finally scored, with Glenn Gawdin knocking in a rebound after an initial Matthew Phillips chance. That made it 5-3. Brett Pollock scored on a one-time feed from Zavgorodniy on a subsequent power play to make it 6-3. Shots were 14-5 Flames in the third.
Why The Flames Won
Two teams went into the third period with a chance to win. The Flames stepped on the gas pedal and out-scored the Oilers 3-0 and out-shot them 14-5. With the game up for grabs, the Flames grabbed hold of it.
Dube was easily the Flames’ best player, but Zavgorodniy and Parsons were also good.
The Turning Point
Ruzicka’s goal, the eventual game-winner, put the Flames on top and got their feet under them after allowing three consecutive goals to blow a 3-0 lead. They got their confidence back and never looked back.
This and That
The young Flames never trailed in either of their games against Edmonton. It doesn’t count for anything, but it’s probably nice for their pride heading into main camp.
In four and a half periods of pre-preseason hockey Parsons gave up four goals. In one and a half periods McDonald gave up two goals.
The Flames are off tomorrow while the non-China veteran players undergo medicals. The on-ice portion of main camp kicks off on Friday morning.