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(Baby) Flames vs. (Baby) Jets Recap: Goals goals goals

Ten goals in the 2014 Young Stars Classic opening game. It was not very nice to the goalies.

Markus Granlund really stood out, as he factored in on four of the Flames' six goals.
Markus Granlund really stood out, as he factored in on four of the Flames' six goals.
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

It took them a while to get going, but once they were off, they were off as the Flames and Jets prospects kicked off the 2014 Young Stars Classic in Penticton.

First Period

The Flames were reliant on Joni Ortio to keep them in the game, as it took them nearly half a period to get a shot on net. That shot came courtesy of one Michael Ferland who, soon after a big Keegan Kanzig hit on Jets prospect Brenden Kichton, darted past the Jets and forced Winnipeg goalie Connor Hellebuyck to make his first save of the game.

The Jets didn't take too kindly to finally giving up a shot as Ferland got into a small scrum, and ended up taking the first penalty of the game. The Jets were unable to do much on the powerplay, and actually gave up a shorthanded chance to Josh Jooris before the game returned to even strength.

That was just the start of the Flames' penalty woes, however, as Morgan Klimchuk tripped a Jets player deep in Winnipeg's zone. Soon after Kenny Agostino high sticked Nikolaj Ehlers to give the Jets a long 5 on 3. New Adirondack coach Ryan Huska sent out Kanzig, Bill Arnold, and Patrick Sieloff to counter the Jets' attack, and they, along with Ortio, worked well to kill the penalties and keep the game scoreless.

Both Jooris and Markus Granlund generated scoring chances once the game returned to even strength, but the first goal would go to the Jets. Chase Balisy fooled Ortio with a quick pass to his teammate, Austen Brassard, who shot it past the Flames' out of position goalie to put Winnipeg up 1-0 with just 22 seconds left in the period.

The period ended with Bryce Van Brabant and Adam Lowry fighting each other for some reason. At this point, the Jets were outshooting the Flames 12-5.

Second Period

The Flames were quickly able to tie the game back up. It started with Granlund, who passed the puck up to Jooris. Jooris and Ferland were left alone in front of Hellebuyck, and after several whacks at the puck, Jooris put it through to tie the game at 1.

Eric Roy left the game with an upper body injury, and maybe his absence affected the defence, because they fell into a disorganized mess, allowing Ehlers the perfect shot. He capitalized, putting the Jets up 2-1.

To counter, the Flames got Austin Carroll on a breakaway, but Hellebuyck stopped him. And then the Jets quickly added to their lead as Jimmy Lodge scored to put Winnipeg up 3-1.

The Flames worked to get themselves back in the game as the goals continued. John Ramage took a shot from the point and it blasted through, bringing the Flames within one. The Jets, however, quickly restored their two-goal lead as Ben Walker got in the open and made it 4-2.

Just as last year's Flames refused to give up, this year's prospects fought back. Johnny Gaudreau jumped off the bench and then, well, did Johnny Hockey things:

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Ryan Culkin then took the Flames' fourth penalty of the game, but the penalty kill once again shone as Granlund and Jooris teamed up to keep it away from their net and try to generate more scoring chances of their own. They killed the penalty, and despite yet another excellent Ehlers chance, Ortio stood strong to keep it a one goal game.

Ramage and the point are apparently a good thing, as he passed it to Jooris from there. He, in turn passed the puck to Granlund, who was right in front of the net. Granlund took the hit to make the play and scored, tying the game up at 4.

The second period was ending when Klimchuk got a break, generated a scoring chance, and drew the Flames' first powerplay of the game with eight seconds to go. The Flames played their way back into the game, as the second period ended with the shots at 23-20 Winnipeg.

Third Period

The third period began with the Flames' first powerplay of the game, and despite some good looks, the Jets combated them well and kept it a tied game.

That was until, once again, Ramage passed the puck up. Granlund was the recipient and he, on a 2 on 1 with Jooris, took the shot. Hellebuyck gave up the rebound and Ferland came darting up the middle, finding it and scoring to give the Flames their first lead of the game, 5-4.

Down the other end of the ice, Ortio was shining. He stopped great scoring chances on J.C. Lipon, Ehlers, and Brassard, to name a few. The Flames got their second powerplay opportunity in between these saves as the Jets were called for delay of game, but were unable to capitalize. They got their third powerplay opportunity when Ortio got hit within his crease, but once again, the Jets' penalty kill persevered.

With the game dying down, the Jets pulled the goalie, but it was for naught: Ortio stood tall to finish the game. The Ferland - Granlund - Jooris line was out on the ice to finish it off, as Jooris scored the empty netter with just over one second left to win it for the Flames, 6-4.

Thoughts

  • Gaudreau is so good. His individual effort on the Flames' third goal completely turned the game around - the Flames scored four unanswered goals starting with it - and he made his teammates better.
  • Sam Bennett started gaining more traction as the game went on, and was really starting to generate chances by the third period. You know what would be fun to watch? Him centring Gaudreau.
  • The Ferland - Granlund - Jooris line was ridiculous, as they combined on four of the six goals. The only ones they didn't? Ramage's point shot, and Gaudreau's Gaudreau-y-ness. While Ferland and Jooris worked hard all game and were great complimentary players, this was Granlund's game. He'll be pushing to make the NHL this season, and even Brad Treliving noted that Granlund was going to make training camp very interesting.
  • The Flames' defence got it together after letting in goal after goal after goal in the second period, but there's still a lot of work to do there. Two standouts were Ramage, who was generally very calm with the puck and was the Flames' greatest contributor on offence from the blueline, and Kanzig's monstrous hits.
  • Finally, the Flames' penalty kill showed shades of how they performed in the NHL last season. They were perfect on it, and rather aggressive. The Score published a piece analyzing their kill from last season, and it's worth reading and spotting the similarities.
It was a bit of a shaky start from the Flames' prospects, but a great finish! They have a quick turnaround as they're back in action tomorrow at 8 p.m. MT to take on the Edmonton Oilers' prospects. The game will once again be streamed online.