The Calgary Flames started off the Young Stars Classic with a big 4-1 victory over the opposing Winnipeg Jets. The Flames outshot the Jets 42-21 in what ended up being a very spirited affair. Potential goalie of the future Jon Gillies stopped 20 of 21 shots in the victory, while Andrew Mangiapane paced the Flames offensively with a goal and an assist.
While the word on the street earlier was that the Flames would bring a top line featuring Matthew Tkachuk, Mark Jankowski and Morgan Klimchuk, that did not come to fruition as the club announced that Klimchuk is day-to-day with a lower-body injury. (Other scratches were 2016 7th round pick Stepan Falkovsky, as well as tryout players Aaron Hyman, Brayden Burke and Matheiu Sevigny). In his place was 2014 7th round pick, Auston Carroll.
Matthew Tkachuk tenacity came as advertised early on. The play was blown dead midway through the first because Tkachuk had gotten into a nice friendly exchange with Brendan Lemieux of the Jets, which culminated in Tkachuk being penalized with an elbowing and cross-checking penalty.
With his line mate in the box, Mark Jankowski went to work, ending up on a shorthanded breakaway but was denied by Jets goaltender Jamie Phillips, who was very good in his half of the game. Shortly after, Andrew Mangiapane had a break and was also turned away by Phillips.
The Jets got on the board first, when Kenney Morrison’s point shot was blocked, leading to a Jets 2-on-1 where Jets 2015 2nd round pick Jansen Harkins put one past Jon Gillies. After one period, it was 1-0 Jets, with the shots favouring the Flames 15 to 8.
The Flames got on the board in a hurry. Recent 166th overall pick Matthew Phillips potted a Kenney Morrison rebound 33 seconds in to the period. The diminutive Phillips was skating well and through his play tonight it was evident that he is not afraid to go to the dirty areas.
Matthew Tkachuk continued to make noise, being an absolute menace down low in the offensive zone with the puck, creating opportunities for himself and teammates, and drawing a penalty by having his helmet ripped off by a Jets’ defender. After Morrison took a penalty on the powerplay, Tkachuk broke in with Jankowski and Rasmus Andersson, leading to Andersson being absolutely robbed by Jamie Phillips. Tkachuk was at it again later in the period, out of the box after taking his third penalty of the game, just missing the net.
Before the period came to a close, Eetu Tuulola forced a turn over in the Jets offensive zone and the puck came to former Barrie Colt Andrew Mangiapane, who sniped one past the Jets other goalie, Mikhail Berdin. The score was 2-1 Flames after two, with the Flames dominating the shot clock 28-16.
The Flames continued to push in the third period. Oliver Kylington, who had a very strong game, used a slick move to make Jets’ forward Brendan Lemieux look absolutely foolish, but just failed to finish on the goal. Shortly after however, AHL/ECHL forward Ryan Lomberg potted an Andrew Mangiapane rebound, with Kylington also netting an assist. The Flames were not done there, with Auston Carroll tipping in a Kylington point shot to put the game out of reach for the Jets.
Things got very heated near the end of the third, with Matthew Tkachuk in the middle of all of it. After getting into a shoving match with Jets’ behemoth Logan Stanley, he ended up sparring once again with Brendan Lemieux. When all was said in done, most players on the ice had become involved and the Flames ended up with Tkachuk, Lomberg, Carroll, Morrison and Keegan Kanzig being sent to the shower early.
1. Oliver Kylington: Displayed everything that you would hope to see from him. Skilled skating, moved the puck with ease, constantly created offensive. The high-risk, high-reward style of game that he plays was very evident with the odd miscue, but his skating is good enough to usually save him from mistakes.
2. Ryan Lomberg: Not the guy you would expect to be one of the most noticeable players on the ice, but Lomberg seemed to constantly be involvd in the play, agitated the opposition and scored a goal. Good way to make an impression for a guy entering his second year in the organization on an AHL-only contract.
3. Matt Tkachuk: No points, but was the most noticeable forward for the Flames. Created offensively, took some penalties, drew some penalties. You can see how Tkachuk is going to add a new dimension to the forward core of the Flames. Opposition players hate him.
Honourable Mentions: Andrew Mangiapane, Dennis Kravchenko, Eetu Tuulola.
The Flames looked good in this game. In such a tournament, teams tend to play pretty loose and structure can be lacking, but they absolutely dominated the Jets in terms of shots and offense. Many players had good showings, while nobody stood out as looking particularly behind the pace, although Hunter Smith and Keegan Kanzig still have work to do.
The Flames are back at it tomorrow night against the Edmonton Oilers for the Junior Battle of Alberta in Penticton, we will have a recap of that game for you as well.