Three opponents, three games, one tournament. Tonight was the final of three, and despite the Calgary Flames having the better start and the lead over the Vancouver Canucks most of the game, they once again couldn't hold on through a full 60 (plus overtime), finishing the Penticton Young Stars Classic with a 1-1-1 record.
The final game opened with immediate action: Mackenze Stewart and Hunter Smith went from jawing to fisticuffs within just the first few minutes. While Smith lost his helmet early on, he was the one with the takedown, ceremoniously dumping Stewart (and his own helmet, finally). The ensuing faceoff was in the Canucks' zone, wherein the Flames won, got a shot, and Julien Proulx - in his first game of the tournament - opened the scoring on the rebound.
What followed was a lot of chippiness, as both the Flames and Canucks exchanged penalties, but neither team was able to score with the man advantage. A number of chances were generated - including shorthanded ones! - but as for putting the puck in the net, that would have to wait for even strength.
As the second period was winding down, Kenney Morrison turned the puck over to Dane Fox, who somehow got it past Jon Gillies at a difficult angle to tie the game. That wouldn't last long, however, as in the dying minute, Morgan Klimchuk sped up the ice with his linemates. He and Mason Marchment passed the puck back and forth while Pavel Karnaukhov drove the net, and the end result was a 2-1 lead for the Flames as Klimchuk potted it.
The third was action filled, featuring Proulx dominating the Canucks' Martin in a very spirited tilt, and Nick Schneider, who replaced Gillies for the final frame, introducing himself.
Huge 2-on-0 save by 18 year old free agent Nick Schnieder in the third period of Calgary / Vancouver pic.twitter.com/ydXWEVhxaX— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) September 15, 2015
That didn't last, however, as Patrick Sieloff turned the puck over, allowing for Jared McCann to pick it up and get it right to Rodrigo Abols, who had no problems scoring from alone in front of the net to tie the game.
You know what that means: three-on-three overtime! And while it only lasted 1:40, it was an action-packed 1:40, signalling good things for us when the new format takes over the NHL. The Flames started off with Oliver Kylington, Bill Arnold, and Karnaukhov as their three-man unit, but it was Emile Poirier who was the most visible, nearly scoring twice.
It was not to be, however. Eric Roy could not keep up with the Jake Virtanen. The 2014 sixth overall pick went alone on Schneider for a breakaway and scored, ending the game with a 3-2 victory for the Canucks.
Flame of the game
Several Flames stood out in this game, for both good and bad reasons. The good guys were mostly forwards. I had a lot of love for the Marchment - Karnaukhov - Klimchuk line (and they scored a great goal), and for Andrew Mangiapane of course, but I'm gonna ultimately give this one to Emile Poirier. Although he never scored, he was a consistent threat throughout the game, and especially in overtime. He's going to be exciting to watch this season.
- You know who I like? I like Austin Carroll. I don't know if he'll ever make the NHL, and the odds are definitely against him, but if he does, he could be a great bottom sixer. He drew a good tripping call out of McCann to give his team a powerplay, and took a big hit but stayed on his feet. (He also dished out a poorly-timed hit of his own that led to a penalty against, but hey, can't win 'em all.)
- Mangiapane moments: he fell in front of the Canucks' net but remained aware of his situation, still able to get ahold of the puck to try for a scoring chance; he went on a two-on-one with Poirier, which is something I could probably get used to, even if Poirier's shot was deflected by the goalie's glove.
- Amidst all the penalties, the Flames had a four-second five-on-three. They did not score, because that's... really not enough time to do anything. Nobody was able to score with the man advantage, though, despite both teams having several chances.
- For that matter, nobody could score shorthanded either, although both teams came close. Notably for the Flames: Klimchuk had a shot early on, and Mangiapane (again, of course) had a two-on-one shorthanded chance with Arnold that went wide. Schneider stopped a couple tries from the Canucks, as well.
- Speaking of the goalies: Schneider had a good effort in his limited appearance, but you gotta love Gillies. He had a big save on Cole Cassels at the end of the first, and even after giving up a tally to Fox, made another big save soon after that one as well. He would seem to be not easily rattled.
- If there's one thing this game highlighted, it's that the depth on defence prospects is still rather weak. Of course, it doesn't help having Ryan Culkin injured, or Rasmus Andersson out (and signing a contract!), but with the lineup present, there was a lot left to be desired.
- Kenney Morrison does have a very hard shot, but he most often looked like a chaotic mess out there.
- It was nice to see Sieloff finally taken off the powerplay units and replaced with Kylington (and there was a particularly nice powerplay sequence in which all the forwards had good tries at scoring, and the man advantage ended with the puck going right to Kylington who just failed to rifle it through). Sieloff had that nasty turnover that resulted in a goal against, and was beaten by Virtanen earlier in the game. He's still got a long ways to go.
- You can kinda see why the Flames didn't sign Roy. He couldn't kee up on multiple plays, and was in part responsible for not just some scoring chances the Canucks generated (a two-on-zero shorthanded - really? And you aren't making much of an effort to get back? Okay), but the overtime winner.
- Ending this on a nicer note: Jason Bell had a good sequence where he perfectly stopped a Canuck from a potential break and scoring chance, and seconds later was down the ice nearly getting a scoring chance of his own on the Canucks.
- Does Rodrigo Abols have the best name in hockey? It's very possible.
Actual preseason! And cuts! And all that really fun stuff that lets us know: hockey is almost back, FOR REAL. A week from today, on Sept. 21, the Flames will be in both Calgary and Edmonton to take on the Oilers in split squad action. Both games are at 7 p.m. MT, because why the hell would you stagger them?
But before that, Flames prospects will face off against the U of C Dinos at Winsport on Wed., Sept. 16. Admission is free for U of C students, and costs $15 if you aren't one of those. Puck drop is at 7 p.m. MT.