Matt Coronato comes out strong in pre-season game against the Canucks
Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
2 months ago
Let’s get something straight: I, like many others, understand that this was only a preseason game. There are plenty of caveats that come with great performances in pre-season games, even in decisive 10-0 victories. But, boy, did the Calgary Flames come out looking strong.
In Ryan Huska’s first game as head coach, the Flames looked like a completely different team relative to last season under Darryl Sutter. The offence looked re-energized, the young players were making a significant impact, and big-name players like Jonathan Huberdeau and Nazem Kadri looked like completely different players. The smiles on their faces after the game were an excellent sight to see after a long off-season and kept us wondering what their response would be after a disappointing first year wearing the flaming ‘C.’
But it wasn’t just those two players that deserve shout-outs. Connor Zary and Adam Klapka looked strong in the game, contributing some solid expected goal numbers. However, the young player that took the cake was Matthew Coronato, scoring a hat-trick in 14 minutes of total ice time and with only three shots on net. That’s right, he shot 100% tonight (which I’m sure is completely sustainable and will certainly be kept up throughout the entire preseason). He also ended with an assist for fun.
Here is goal number one:
Here is goal number two:
And here is goal number three:
The most impressive part about these three tallies is that they all happened in different ways. The first one happened because Coronato went to the front of the net and stayed focused on putting the puck in the net. He was tenacious enough to roof the puck from his knees with a defender draped all over him, and that’s the commitment to scoring that coaches love to see from young players.
The second goal was a product of a strong forecheck by Dryden Hunt and a fortunate bounce after the poke check on the forecheck left the puck in the middle of the slot. And someone with the shot of Coronato isn’t going to miss from there.
Speaking of Coronato’s shot, let’s talk about his third goal, which was easily the coolest of the night and the one that made everyone say “Wow.” Huberdeau put it well post-game:
A quick release as the power play ended off a cross-ice pass put the Flames into double-digit goal territory. There aren’t many players on the team that could place that shot where it went, but Coronato did it, and he did it very well.
There’s obviously some restraint that needs to be had here. The NHL regular season is much different than the first preseason game of the year. However, if you as a Flames fan came into this game with the idea of seeing change, you saw it. Not only was the team exciting, but the young players who are expected to make a difference this year (at the NHL level, AHL level, or both) did their jobs. The style of play that the Flames pursued tonight was exciting, and it’s a breath of fresh air when young, skilled, fast players get to leave their mark one game at a time. Hopefully, this is just the first of many impressive outings for Coronato this preseason.
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