NHL Coaches and General Managers always say that pre-season hockey is more about talent evaluation than it is about wins and loses. At the AHL level, that philosophy is multiplied. The Adirondack Flames took the ice this weekend for its home and home pre-season schedule against the Utica (Canucks) Comets.
There are presently 37 players in the Adirondack camp, with a few more expected to be sent down in the next couple days. Twenty two of these players have contracts with Calgary, so every shift and minute for many of these players is critical.
Friday, the Flames suffered a 4-2 loss at the hands of Utica at the JFK Arena in Rome, NY. Bryce Van Brabant and Ken Agostino gave the Flames a 2-0 lead after two periods, but the Comets rallied in the third with four markers - the final one being an open netter with less than a minute remaining. Goaltender Doug Carr, on a rookie tryout out of UMass - Lowell got the start and saved all 21 shots he faced over the first 40 minutes. Mathieu Corbeil played the final period and took the loss.
On Saturday, the Flames entertained a large pre-season home crowd at the Glens Falls Civic Center, in a fast skating 4-1 loss. The first period was evenly matched and ended scoreless with Utica outshooting the Flames 7-6. Adirondack squandered two power plays, include 20 seconds of a 5 on 3. The first eight minutes of the second period proved to be the decisive portion of the game, as the Comets scored twice on goaltender Brad Thiessen from close range. Adirondack rallied in the second half of the period, but failed to find the back of the net.
Corbon Knight scored for the Flames at 11:03 of the third period on a pretty snap shot from the top of the left circle, closing the gap to 2 -1. Garnet Hathaway and Bill Arnold had assists on the goal. The Flames pressed for the tying goal, but gave up a 2-1 late that resulted in the Comets regaining their two goal lead. The Flames also gave up an empty net goal in the final ninety seconds. The Flames outshot the Comets 27 - 25.
There are still a significant amount of roster moves that remain before the season opener next Friday in Rochester. The home opener is a week from today against rival Albany.