After they decimated the Canucks prospects last night, the Edmonton Oilers prospects were looking to send a message against their arch-rivals. And it showed, well, after they found their game. Meanwhile the Calgary Flames prospects were looking to build off of a very impressive showing against Winnipeg.
Without players like Oliver Kylington and Morgan Klimchuk, the Flames put in an acceptable effort this evening. Again several names from last night's victory continued to impress as they make strong cases for their careers.
The everlasting theme of Sam Bennett's relentless forecheck opened the game for the Flames. It never seems to stop for him as he's always somewhere, doing something sensible. Despite that, the Flames looked a tad disorganized in their own end to start, a byproduct of just being a little unfamiliar with their peers.
Mason McDonald was being tested primarily by the Oilers' Connor Rankin as he had a couple chances in the period including easily dancing around invitee Jason Fram. The Flames struck first however as Pavel Karnauhkov excellent pass to Hunter Smith all alone in front to make it 1-0.
As the period continued, the Oilers looked flatter and flatter, allowing Bennett and linemate Emile Poirier to create a superb scoring chance. Thanks to some offsetting penalties, the Flames took advantage of the four-on-four play as Bill Arnold would feed Andrew Mangiapane a perfect pass making it 2-0.
Edmonton came out buzzing to start the period after their lackluster first period as things got a little heated. Unfortunately undisciplined play lead to the Oilers heading to the powerplay. Thankfully a superb forecheck by Ryan Lomberg generated a call against Edmonton sending the game back to four-on-four. The Oilers were able to solve McDonald as Josh Winquist's patience for the right shot made it 2-1.
Calgary started to come alive again, showing shades of the first period as Bennett drew yet another penalty. As the Flames headed into a five-on-three, Rasmus Andersson showed off his patience, feeding a perfect pass to Arnold to make it 3-1. Penalty troubles again hit the Flames prospects as Keegan Kanzig took a seat for taking an unnecessary penalty. The penalty kill continued to show a very aggressive pace and dictate the way Edmonton attacked. Despite killing the penalty, Hunter Smith took another unnecessary call.
The PK again, was clicking again as the Flames were able to create two-on-one plays and draw penalties too. From what was seen on the Flames power play: it was capable. Puck cycling worked and they drove to creating decent chances. The Flames PK fell apart late, even with the prior positives as Joey Laleggia put away a perfect point shot with a screen in front making it 3-2.
The final period was a continuation of decisions and consequences that didn't work out in favor of Calgary. Kenney Morrison's delay-of-game call at the end of the second allowed the Oilers to start the period with the man-advantage. Bryce Van Brabant being sprung on a breakaway was one of the few positives in the period, though tripping himself up a bit on it wasn't a positive end result.
Penalties began to run rampant again, as the Flames got another chance on the powerplay to extend their lead. Nothing quality transpired, though the Oilers would tie the game with a defensive zone breakdown by the Flames on the PK. Even with the shortcomings in their own end, McDonald was stable, providing some structure and support in net. The Oilers got lucky again as Leon Draisaitl was tripped up on a breakaway, which resulted in a penalty shot, which resulted in a 4-3 game at that point.
As the play fell apart with Calgary trying to equalize, things went even more sideways. A scrum after a chance in front of Jordan Papirny resulted in Darnell Nurse and Andersson fighting. From there the Oilers on two occasions added empty net goals to win 6-3.
Flame of the game
How about Bill Arnold who had a stellar two-point night in the loss? Lots of elements of his offensive game are underrated, but they showed up tonight. Arnold was capable in all ends of the ice, in all situations too. His overall individual effort was very impressive and shows exactly why he excelled in the NCAA. Plus that pass on the Mangiapane goal was delicious eye-candy.
- Mangiapane is really fantastic. There is no other way to say it as it's been two games of noteworthy play. It's astonishing he went in the sixth round. Eat bread, folks, eat bread.
- 19-year-old Sam Bennett is beyond ready for the NHL. His ability to consistently create zone entries, forecheck relentlessly, and force turnovers are everything the Flames need this season. There is no doubt personally that he is on the roster opening night. Even though he didn't put up any points this evening, there is no denying what he can create.
- Karnauhkov continued to impress in his two-way game. One thing that is definitely in his favor is his ability to support the play either breaking out of the zone or through the neutral zone well into the offensive zone.
- Arnold's ability to find hard to connect passes, successfully, is a very underrated attribute to his game. His pass to Mangiapane in the first on the second goal turned many heads on the replay.
- Keegan Kanzig had a giveaway in the first that lead to a scoring chance for the Oilers. Besides that, he was flat like the last game. This included poor positioning, communication, and the penalty he took.
- Besides the one PP goal the the Flames gave up, again it was impressive overall. Similar to yesterday's game, similar names like Karnauhkov, Bennett, Arnold, Mangiapane, Culkin, Kulak, and Lomberg were out there killing penalties.
- Regarded as raw by some, Andersson's offensive upside, especially on the powerplay is very strong. He has great vision and strong sense of waiting for the right opportunities to open up. That said, his decision to fight Nurse really didn't prove anything. Especially after he got manhandled by him.
- The decision on the Draisaitl penalty shot is what it is. Replay did appear to show he knocked the puck away before Draisaitl went down but from referee's vantage point it makes sense for calling it for what it was. Either way, Lomberg up until that point had a pretty great game. He'll be a solid addition in Stockton this fall.
- Kenney Morrison's first game as a Calgary Flame was average in every sense of the word. His decision making on the game-tying goal was a very visible defensive zone gaffe. Besides that, his skating was good, not overly impressive, but good. Depending on how his training camp goes, it's very likely he starts in Stockton.
- Ryan Culkin's shoulder is apparently injured, which is why he left the game. He'll be reevaluated tomorrow by the looks of things.
- McDonald was solid, despite that penalty shot goal. He definitely was confident and able with playing the puck when given the chance. He's got long road ahead of him before turning pro but he definitely has the foundation to pursue a pro career after juniors.
- Zone entries for the most part were strong and predominately clean as well. Again, this is a huge positive and something the Flames struggle with. If most of these kids are the future, then it's a great sign if this can translate over to the NHL.
- Connor Rankin was one of the more impressive Oilers this evening. The former Calgary Hitmen forward is looking to turn pro this fall and he's definitely drawing attention from many people, myself included.
The Flames prospects close out the Young Stars tournament on Monday against the Vancouver Canucks at 3:30 PM MST. Hopefully the Flames can regain some discipline in their game and avoid penalties like they did tonight, which led to their undoing.
After that, the Flames training camp will be closing in shortly as the 2015-16 season is fast approaching.