Tag Archives: Brendan Courtney

Ottawa 3 – January 26: Flames 0 vs. Kanata Blazers 2

Saturday afternoon the Flames played their third and final game of round robin competition in the 9th Annual Capital Winter Classic Hockey Tournament. The Flames played the Kanata Blazers with a playoff berth on the line. As it turns out, the Flames fell to the Blazers 2-0, and missed out on a playoff spot due to tie breakers. Let’s recap.

 

1st Period: The first period played out like I thought it might, even, conservative, and a little bit physical. It was at least all of those, as the teams combined for six total shots, and nary a scoring chance, although the Blazers did hit the crossbar with a shot late in the period.

 

2nd Period: The second period starting much the same way the first period played out, even, not many chances, and scoreless. Then things changed quickly, and they changed dramatically. I wish the momentum change wasn’t tied to something the team has struggled with all season, but in hindsight it looks that way. With 5:33 left to play in the period, or just past the half way point of the game, the Flames made their customary goal tender change. At that time in the game, the Blazers might have looked like the better overall skating team, but the Flames were getting chances sporadically as well. At this measurement point, the Flames had 6 shots, the Blazers had just 4. There were no goals scored, nor were there any penalties for either team. With 4:50 left in the period the Flames took a penalty, 2:00 minute penalties in Canada. At 3:16 left, the Flames took a second penalty; this one gave the Blazers a 5-on-3 advantage for 26 seconds. The Blazers needed just 13 seconds to score a power play goal, taking a 1-0 lead. Just like that, the Blazers had gone from 4 shots in nineteen minutes to ripping off 7 shots in the next 3+ minutes. Honestly, neither Flames penalty was brutal; however both of them could have been easily avoided. The period ended with the Flames trailing 1-0, and now being out gunned 12-6 in shots. Another note, after the change in goal, the Flames did not register a shot for the remainder of the period while the Blazers had 8 shots.

 

3rd Period: The third period was desperation time for the Flames; at least they were getting more desperate with each passing minute. Even so, the Flames only registered 1 shot on goal in the first nine minutes of the third period. During this time, the Blazers constantly had both defensemen back while making perfect break out passes time and time again, and rushed up ice, three across, like it was drawn up on the board. The Blazers also struck for a second goal in this time and were dominating play. The Blazers had sent 10 shots on net to the Flames 1 shot until the Blazers took their only penalty of the game. The Flames rallied over the last 1:48, getting 4 shots on goal, but were unable to score. Ultimately, the Flames lost 2-0, and were dominated in shots by a 24-11 margin. After losing to the Blazers it was up to tie breakers, and remaining games from other teams to determine the fate of the Flames playoff hopes. Zachary Bayer was recognized as player of the game for the Flames.

 

As it turned out, the Flames tied for first in their division, but were seeded third as a result of their goal differential. Then, the other three divisions finished play, and seeded their teams, which left the Flames as the 8th overall seed, and only 6 teams moved into the playoffs. So, the tournament was done for the Flames. No playoffs due to tie breakers, which ultimately comes back to how the team performed on the ice.

 

From this perspective I thought the team played well. They competed in every period, and gave themselves opportunities to win games, and win they did, two out of three times. The Flames scored 4 goals and allowed just 3 goals over the three games played, while taking 6 minor penalties. The goaltenders were sensational. Anders Lindberg made 29 saves on 31 shots for a save percentage of .935. Keenan Alnahas saved 15 of 16 shots for a percentage of .938. These percentages are fantastic at any level. These two and the team may have deserved better based on their abilities to keep pucks out of their own net. Either one of these goalies could have been player of the game in any of the games. In my opinion, Brendan Courtney could have been player of the game in all 3 games, as he did his best Zdeno Chara, shutdown defenseman impersonation. There were notable players up and down the lineup for the Flames and they should take pride in their effort as a team, and as individuals. Good showing Flames!

 

The trip to Ottawa was fun, even if frigid temperatures kept sightseeing to a minimum. The kids played good hockey, they played in world-class facilities, they played in a community that’s part of a country that takes this game seriously, and expects all that participate to play the game the right way. The Pittsburgh Penguins held a practice in the rink next door (in the same building) to the ice sheet that the Flames were playing on in their final game. I saw the kids scurry and scamper up and down hotel halls so they could hang out together and play more knee hockey, or go swimming, or just be together. I also saw the rosy red cheeks of one teammate after another returning from a brisk skate on the Rideau Canal. I hope all had fun. I know I enjoy the city of Ottawa and the offerings it makes available to visitors, and I hope others enjoyed a slice of their visit to Ottawa as well. Our family had fun, and I particularly enjoyed getting a 4 mile skate on the canal with both my 20-year old and 12-year old sons.

Ottawa 1 – January 25: Flames 3 vs. Perth Blue Wings 1

The Manchester Flames Pee Wee Majors traveled to Ottawa, Ontario to compete in the 9th Annual Capital Winter Classic Tournament, and this morning they played their opening game. Walking into the complex this morning, we sought the unfamiliar relief of the cold rink as a place of warmth to get away from the wind chills of 10 and 20 degrees below zero. Feeling frozen, maybe a little bit, the Flames were matched up against the Perth Blue Wings to start the tournament. The Flames started slow but did rally to earn a 3-1 win.

1st Period: The Flames managed five shots on goal, and did control the puck some, while taking a few icing calls. They held the Blue Wings to just a pair of shots on goal. After one period, the game was tied at 0-0.

2nd Period: the second period saw the Blue Wings score first. After a loose puck sat for what seemed like an hour in the Flames empty defensive crease, Patrick Goren swept the puck aside, and clear of the goalmouth. The trouble was that Goren used his gloved hand to do so, which, by rule awards the non-offending team a penalty shot. The Perth player scored and the Flames trailed 1-0. The Flames took a penalty just 20 seconds after the goal and were in a tight spot, not wanting to go down by two goals. The Flames and, superb penalty killer, Brendan Courtney, held their own, and killed the penalty. Then with just 78 ticks left to play in the 2nd period, the Flames scored on the power play to tie the game. After a great shift from Wil Hebert, Jackson Puzzo, and Sam Hebert, they were rewarded with a goal. Sam finally tapped the puck into the net after shots and passes had trickled through traffic, bounced off of the goalie, and appeared to going wide of the net. Sam collected the puck and quickly slid it behind the goaltender before he could recover. Puzzo and Wil Hebert got the assists. The period ended with the game tied at 1-1, and the Flames holding a 14-6 advantage in shots.

3rd Period: 11 seconds into the final period, the Flames took the lead. After winning a scrum following the face off, Sam Hebert took a pass from Sean Moore and bolted up left wing. Hebert made no mistake, roofing the puck in the top right corner of the net, and scoring his second goal of the game. Minutes later, Zachary Bayer scored on a set up from Jackson Puzzo and the Flames led 3-1 with half a period to play. The Flames collapsed around their own net and kept most play to the outside in trying to preserve their lead. The final score would stay the same, a 3-1 win for the Flames. Keenan Alnahas and Anders Lindberg combined to save 10 of 11 shots and earn the win for the Flames. The Flames generated 19 shots on goal in the game. Sam Hebert was named player of the game for the Flames who move over to the Bell Sensplex, and the Mattamy Homes Arena for a 7:30pm game tonight, against the Kitchener Jr. Rangers Blue.

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 !!!!

November 25: Flames 2 @ Concord 2

Flames comeback to earn a point in GSL Standings

Sunday afternoon the Flames traveled to Concord, NH to play a Granite State Hockey League game vs. the Concord Capitals. Just two weeks ago, the Flames blew a 3rd period lead on home ice in a 3-2 loss to the Capitals, after playing an otherwise solid game. Yesterday things looked like another loss might be in store for the visiting Flames. Not so fast. The Flames bounced back and earned a point in the GSL Standings, the result of a 2-2 tie.

Let me start from the beginning. That would be the 1st period, where, despite being short-handed for 6 of the 12 minutes in the period, the Flames out shot the Capitals 5-3 and had the better of the scoring chances. The first period ended scoreless, 0-0.

The 2nd period stayed largely the same as the opening stanza. The Flames took a penalty, killed it off, got good shots, and good scoring chances. But, like we see so often in sports, when teams tempt fate by playing in a manner that defies the book of how-to, and so too, the Flames started to pay for their individual driven, penalty marred style of play. Concord scored their first goal on a nice rebound goal of an even better initial save made by Keenan Alnahas. 5:16 later, the Capitals took a 2-0 lead and there were only 14-plus minutes left in the contest. Before the 2nd period ended, the Flames were able to cut the lead from 2 to a single goal. Sean Moore scored a hard-working, lunch pail carrying type of goal that was set up by Sam Hebert and Zach Bayer. The period ended with the Flames trailing 2-1.

In the 3rd period Concord, who is already a solid team defense unit, clamped down their end and as much of the neutral zone as they good, in hopes of hanging on to their 2-1 lead for 12 more minutes. The Capital all but disappeared, and maybe would not have surfaced again, were it not for additional penalties handed to the Flames in the final two minutes of play. I’m getting ahead of myself though, lest I forget the Flames game-tying goal. Zach Bayer struck for a goal, it was set up by Jackson Puzzo and Patrick Goren, and the game was tied 2-2 with 2:29 left. The Flames took penalties with 1:47 left, and with 0:39 left, allowing Concord a brief 5-on-3 power play chance. The defense held, as did, Anders Lindberg in goal, and the Flames came away with a point in the standings, earning a 2-2 tie. For the game, the Flames out shot their opponent 19-12 and really carried the offensive pressure. I did hear the coaching staff vocalizing a recurring thought through the game, and that was, “Pass the puck!!!!” I am sure that thought may come up in practice this week.

On tap:
Saturday, December 1st, 7:20pm: @ Ristuccia Arena vs. Shamrocks (Wilmington, MA)
Sunday, December 2nd, 11:30am: @ Notre Dame Arena vs. Berlin (Berlin, NH)

November 11: Flames 7 @ Stars 3

Slow start, down 2-0; Strong finish, 7-3 win

The Flames quickly found themselves behind 2-0 just 7 minutes into the game. This may have been the result of back-to-back early morning (8am scrimmage yesterday) games, or maybe the team’s attendance at MRYHA Night at the Verizon Wireless Arena last night. Either way, the Stars led 2-0 early, and were carrying the play. As the period wore on, the Flames started heating up and the scoring chances opened up. First, on a clean face off win, Patrick Goren fed Sean Moore in the slot and he one-timed a shot just inside of the far post to get the Flames on the board. A few minutes later, Brendan Courtney pushed a nice pass from his defensive position up to Sam Hebert who skated up the left-wing, cut back to the net and scored a nifty goal to tie the game at 2-2. The period ended with a 2-2 score and the Flames earning a slim 7-6 edge in shots on goal.
The second period started with the Flames and Sam Hebert getting a goal in the opening 22 seconds to take a 3-2 lead. Over the next several minutes the tide turned and the NE Stars starting winning loose pucks, keeping the puck in the offensive end, and getting people in front of the net. This led to the Stars’ scoring the tying goal, and then going on successive power plays. Finally, after killing three straight minutes of penalties, the Flames started engulfing the offensive end of the ice with waves of scoring chances. Just as a Flame penalty expired, Sam Hebert struck again with an even-strength goal. It was his 3rd of the game, and the eventual game winner. Shortly thereafter, Hebert scored again on an easy put-back goal after great passing and offensive presence from Ryan Douthart and Brendan Courtney. The period ended with the Flames in front 5-3 and the momentum squarely with the visiting team.
The 3rd period saw the Flames really open up their passing game, which led to 10 shots on goal and 2 more goals. Ryan Douthart figured in both goals during the period, as did Wil and Sam Hebert. Not on the score sheet, but certainly present with strong skating, hustle, back checking, and positioning was Kyle O’Flaherty. The first goal of the period was scored by Sam Hebert, but was really created by Douthart and Wil Hebert. The final goal was scored when Douthart was rewarded for a strong game and a real nice hockey play, assisted by Wil and Sam Hebert. Keenan Alnahas and Anders Lindberg combined to make 17 saves on 20 shots they faced, with Alnahas earning the win in net.
The Flames return to action this afternoon when they host the Concord Capitals at 12:50pm in the West Side Arena. Thank again for bearing with us through these last few months. Please enjoy the rest of the season and find fun in everything you do.