Daily Archives: December 30, 2012

December 30: @ Flames 2 vs. NH East 1

Sunday afternoon the Flames returned to home ice, hosting the 1st place (GSL) NH East Eagles. This NH East club has proven over the years to be well coached and very stingy on the defensive end of the ice. In early November they shut out the Flames 3-0, allowing just 12 shots in the game. In GSL play, the Eagles had allowed just 14 goals in 10 games played. And so it was entering play on Sunday. The Eagles, 7-1-1 and in 1st place coming to town for a game with the Flames who just recently started playing like a unit, like a team. Shall we?

1st Period: The first period looked like so many battles with these Eagles in prior meetings, not much open ice, few chances, and the visitors getting the only goal of the period. The Flames iced the puck four times in the first period just to stay within reach. And the period ended with NH East leading 1-0 and holding an 8-5 advantage in shots.

2nd Period: Something changed in the second period, even though no goals were scored. The Flames skated harder, with more purpose. The Flames even drew a couple of penalties, and even though they didn’t score, they clearly had the better chances to score. Better chances, even though they did allow a few odd man rushes, but Keenan Alnahas and Anders Lindberg were equal to the task, and then some. After two periods, the Flames trailed 1-0, were being outshot 16-10, but showed hope. Actually, late in the period it looked like the Flames had tied the game when Sam Hebert made some precision moves in tight and rang a shot of the nearside post. The puck came out from the post at an angle, hit off the goaltenders pads and appeared to cross the goal line while spinning and wobbling like the lid of a jar of strawberry jelly hastily opened. I had a pretty good view from 100 feet away, but the referee blew the whistle, announcing, “no goal”.

3rd Period: Just when it looked like the Flames would be bitten by the ‘too many trips without getting a shot, let alone a goal’ bug; Sam Hebert scored. Sam’s goal tied the game at one apiece. The play was set up with hustle from Zachary Bayer, and the long reach and passing ability of Brendan Courtney. Hebert let the shot rip, and there you have it, tie game with 8:08 to play. The Flames were outshot in the third period too, but this was different, somehow. They possessed the puck, and cycled the puck well, not always getting shots, but making the Eagles work to defend their end. Ultimately this type of play led to the game winning goal. It’s probably a goal the Eagles would like to have back because it looked barely a tick above harmless, but a goal is a goal. The Flames had cycled the puck well for a full shift and the Eagles finally had a chance at a free clearing pass. But Jackson Puzzo had other ideas, swiping the pass and getting the puck to Sam Hebert. Hebert finished the play, scoring the go ahead goal with just 1:47 to play. Sam would take a penalty 57 seconds later when the Flames were struggling to clear the puck out of their own end. NH East had an offensive zone face off, a power play, and an extra attacker in lieu of their goalie, and the puck on a stick, wide open, in the slot. They shot, point blank, and Anders Lindberg made a brilliant save, being the best penalty killer when he had to be. That was the game. The Flames killed the next several seconds of penalty time before Wil Hebert drew a penalty by working hard and refusing to give up the puck while alone in the corner of his offensive end as Eagles players tried getting the puck loose to rush up ice one more time. The final buzzer sounded, and the Eagles, looking like they weren’t sure how to react, were shocked, and the Flames were elated with the win, the two points, and the fruits of their labor. The final score was 2-1, in favor of the Flames, despite being outshot 22-13. Lindberg played 41+ minutes on the weekend and made 24 saves against 24 shots. The Flames have been recipients of outstanding goal-tending from Alnahas and Lindberg all season. These two have certainly been major contributors to the Flames success.

Happy New Year !!!!

December 29: @ Flames 2 vs. Shamrocks 1

Saturday the Flames started their final weekend of the year 2012 with the first of back-to-back home games. They hosted the Shamrocks at West Side Arena. These are the same Shamrocks that beat the Flames 2-1 back on the 1st of the month. A big team with some skill, some size, and some big shots that was able to create quite a bit of open space for themselves the first time they met. The Flames answered the call and played a solid, disciplined game from start to finish, earning their own 2-1 victory.

1st Period: The Flames scored first when Sean Moore, who has been heating up lately, scored on a nice play set up by Zachary Bayer. Other than the Moore goal, the period was quite even. Both teams registered 8 shots, neither team was called for a penalty and both teams did a nice job of clogging areas on the ice, not allowing odd man rushes.

2nd Period: The second period only offered a single penalty called and no scoring as far as the score sheet was concerned. However, the Flames had some great chances, definitely getting better looks at the net than the visiting Shamrocks, but could not extend the lead. The Flames outshot their opponent 11-8 in the period and held a 1-0 lead on the scoreboard.

3rd Period: In the third period some things returned to a more normal, if not, familiar state. The Flames were called for three penalties in the period, two of which were called quickly, as in, quickly in direct proportion to the quickness in which the Flame player stopped skating and started reaching with their stick. Whistle! Penalty. The feet must keep moving. Anyhow, before the penalties, there was the Flames second goal of the game. Just 14 seconds into the period, Zachary Bayer scored on what was an innocent looking play set up by Christian Levesque, but Bayer worked hard, and was rewarded with the goal. Later, came the penalties, and allowed this Shamrock club back into the game. For nearly all 45 minutes of play the Flames had stymied the big guns of the visitors, allowing almost no time or space. They got off one, or maybe two, big shots in the game, but they were off target, and the rest of the time the Flames played team defense and allowed almost no good looks at the net. All except for the power play goal they allowed with 2:08 left in the game. The Flames held on and won 2-1 in a good, clean, crisply played hockey game. The Flames’ goal-tending tandem of Anders Lindberg (Win) and Keenan Alnahas combined to save 19 of 20 shots faced, earning the team’s 20th win of the season. Saturday’s win set the stage for a big Granite State game on Sunday afternoon, also at West Side Arena, stayed tuned.