Calgary Flames Post-Game: Flames open prospect tournament with hefty loss to Vancouver
Photo credit:Erica Perreaux/WHL
By Ryan Pike2 months ago
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The Calgary Flames weren’t all that good in the first period of their Young Stars Classic opener against the Vancouver Canucks. They were a bit better in the second period, but it wasn’t enough to get the result they wanted, and they ended up skating to a one-sided 7-1 loss in their tournament tip-off game in Penticton on Friday evening.
The opening period was pretty one-sided, with shots 18-2 for the Canucks. Goaltender Matt Radomsky was strong for the Flames, but the Canucks scored a couple. First, the Flames’ defenders couldn’t corral a puck or clear it, leading to Cole McWard’s point shot getting deflected by Vilmer Alriksson to make it 1-0. Later on, with Jaden Lipinski in the penalty box, Aidan McDonough made a nice fake-out play on the power play that caused Tyson Galloway to go down for a block, giving McDonough time and space to fire the puck past Radomsky to make it 2-0 for Vancouver.
The clubs traded goals in the second period. The line of Lipinski, Adam Klapka and Lucas Ciona put together a nice rush sequence, begun with Ciona causing a turnover on the back-check. Klapka’s shot on goal deflected off Canucks netminder Nikita Tolopilo, off Ciona (crashing the net) and in, cutting Vancouver’s lead to 2-1. But after Tolopilo made a save off a Flames rush chance by Mikael Diotte, the play went the other way and Marc Gatcomb toe-dragged around a sliding Galloway and then fired a shot past Radomsky to make it 3-1 Canucks.
The Canucks added to their lead in the third period. After a Flames icing, the Canucks won the offensive zone draw to the point and McWard’s point shot (with fairly sparse traffic) eluded Radomsky to give the Canucks a 4-1 edge. Shortly afterwards, Canucks forward Jacob Maillet took advantage of an iffy clearing attempt in the Flames’ zone, grabbing the errant pass off the boards, walking in on Radomsky and scoring to make it 5-1. Filip Johansson added a one-timer goal on a late Canucks power play to make it a 6-1 lead for Vancouver. Karel Plasek scored on a delayed penalty call shortly afterwards to extend Vancouver’s lead to 7-1, converting the touchdown and cementing the victory for the Canucks.
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Why the Flames lost
When the Flames announced their roster, the lack of pro experience on their blueline was pretty evident. Take away Jeremie Poirier, working his way back from off-season surgery, and that lack of experience was made even starker. Well, the lean Flames blueline got picked apart by the Canucks. Three Canucks goals were products of some odd decision-making by some inexperienced defenders in red.
The Flames definitely improved as the game wore on, but the clunkiness of their defensive group definitely slowed down the club’s transition game and made it difficult to generate speed through the neutral zone, odd-man rushes, and offensive opportunities in general.
While you do expect some growing pains and clunkiness in the opening prospect tournament game given it’s players who haven’t played in awhile playing with guys they may have never played with, the Flames were a bit too disjointed to be fully effective on this occasion.
We’ll tip our caps to a few players in red. Lucas Ciona was consistently engaged, playing like he had a bee in his bonnet, as did linemates Adam Klapka and Jaden Lipinski. (The trio also combined for four minor penalties, though.) Samuel Honzek and Matt Coronato also had some good flashes, but just couldn’t quite translate some nice plays into enough offensive opportunities.
On the back end, Matt Radomsky gave the Flames a chance until the wheels fell off a bit in the third period. Yan Kuznetsov and Jarrod Gourley were probably the most consistent defensive pairing of the three the Flames rolled out.
This and that
Adam Klapka, Rory Kerins and Yan Kuznetsov all wore As as alternate captains for the Flames.
Lucas Ciona fought Quinn Schmiemann in second period.
The Flames prospects are back at it on Saturday night when they face the Edmonton Oilers prospects. It’s another late start with an 8:30 p.m. MT puck drop from Penticton.
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