Saturday afternoon the Flames returned to home ice for a game against the Bulldogs. These two teams have played each other several times already this season. Each of the games thus far has been intensely contested, pretty evenly matched, and been a close game. Today things changed a little bit, at least as it relates to how these games have been going. The Flames lost 5-1 and just didn’t have the intensity they have shown over recent games. There was a fair amount of watching instead of skating, especially in the areas of battling for loose pucks and defending in front of their goal tender.
1st Period: The Flames came out in the first period and carried the play early. The Bulldogs didn’t mount much of a fight in either end of the ice for about six or seven minutes. Then things started to get good. Both teams played sharp, structured hockey, and the period ended scoreless, while both teams managed 8 shots apiece.
2nd Period: The second period was quite different from the opening period. The Bulldogs stormed the Flames net early, getting five shots on net and a goal before the Flames even got a shot off. After another four and a half minutes the lead had jumped to 3-0 in favor of the Bulldogs. Two of the three goals for the visiting team had come on a man-advantage. 28 seconds after the Flames fell behind 3-0, Zachary Bayer scored for the home team. Bayer was able to get his stick on the puck before it bounced off of, up, and over the Bulldogs goaltender. The whole play was set up by a strong individual effort from Sean Moore who had back checked a player in the neutral zone, took the puck, beat another player with a deke, and turned it into a scoring opportunity. The final seven-plus minutes were penalty and goal free, although the Flames put their best offensive effort together to finish the period. The period ended with the Flames trailing 3-1 on the scoreboard, and being out-shot 23-18.
3rd Period: After getting the better scoring chances in the latter half of the second period, and not being able to capitalize with goals, the Flames still had a chance entering the final period. Chances went out the window when the Bulldogs scored their fourth goal on a shot from a player standing all by himself in the slot. Shortly thereafter, the Bulldogs were about to score again after Anders Lindberg made a couple of point-blank saves. The puck was uncovered, in the crease, and just begging to be put into the net when a Flames defenseman reached out and covered the puck with their hands. That equated to a delay of game penalty and a penalty shot was awarded to the Bulldogs. The penalty shot resulted in a goal and a 5-1 lead for the Bulldogs. The game would end that way, with the Flames being out-shot 30-23 for the game.
On Tap: Keene visits West Side Arena tomorrow at 3pm. The Flames beat Keene 2-0 at Cushing Academy back in October. Stay tuned.