After two games on Saturday the Flames came into Sunday afternoon’s game with the 495 Stars White team with a full 24 hours off. The Flames and Stars were meeting for the 4th and final time this season, and if the game followed previous results, this would be a tight one. In three previous meetings, the Flames earned one goal victories in each, 4-3, 3-2, and 3-2. During the pre-game skate both referees were geared for a feisty, heavy penalized type of game, but I pointed out that previous encounters had been pretty crisp, and clean. So, here we go.
1st Period: The first period set the tone for the rest of the game really. There were few shots by either team, much of the play was from the face off circles and out through the neutral zone, and above the circles at the other end. Both teams contested odd man rushes, and breakouts, and play was overall defensive in nature. This favored the Flames largely due to the fact that the Flames broke through and scored twice in the period, while getting just 5 shots to the net. Ryan Douthart (who I think played his best game of the season, and continues to improve) scored a great hockey goal to get the Flames started. Jackson Puzzo got the puck to Sam Hebert who drove to the net creating a defensive collapse on him. This freed up Douthart who got the puck, and shot on net, and then he followed his own rebound and put the puck in the net. The Flames led 1-0. Late in the period Sean Moore made a nice little tip pass to Sam Hebert who took the pass in full stride and beat everyone to the net, scoring a pretty goal, and giving the Flames a 2-0 lead. After one period; 2 goals scored, 9 combined shots, and just one combined penalty.
2nd Period: The Stars had a better 2nd period, but it didn’t start that way. The Flames had some early chances and several shots, but gave the momentum back by taking consecutive penalties. The Stars took full advantage of the penalty whistled when the Flames stop skating and get their sticks parallel to the ice, hooking. Less than a minute after having an unsuccessful power play, the Stars corrected matters on this advantage. The Stars got a power play goal to cut the Flames lead in half. Then, just 10 seconds later, Bang! The game was tied at 2-2. The Flames were able to get the lead back before the period ended when Sam Hebert took the puck off of a Stars’ stick and went the length of the ice to score his second goal of the game. The period ended with the Flames leading 3-2. The Stars had 7 shots to just 6 shots for the Flames.
3rd Period: There was no scoring in the final period, nor were there any penalties called. However, this may have been the most dominating period for the Flames. Over the final 20 minutes of play, the Flames allowed just 4 shots to reach their goaltender. They controlled play, gave up almost zero chances, and outshot the Stars 8-3. Douthart had half of the Flames shots in the period. The home team played well, another solid team effort in earning their third straight 3-2 win at the hands of the 495 Stars White team. The win gives the Flames a 3 point lead in their division standings, while still having played one less game than the 2nd place Bulldogs.
Monday night, January 7th (tonight): Flames vs. Avalanche II @ 7:50pm (West Side Arena)
Saturday, January 12th: Flames vs. Hanover @ 10:20am (West Side Arena)
Saturday, January 12th: Flames vs. NE Stars Select @ 6:10pm (West Side Arena)
Sunday, January 13th: Flames vs. Shamrocks @ 2:10pm (West Side Arena)