Saturday morning at 8:00am the Flames Pee Wee Major team brought its first performance of 2013 to the Allied Veterans Memorial Rink in Everett, MA. With a game time scheduled early, reminding me of Mite hockey schedules, the players and parents made their way south in the dark. An early game on a Saturday morning, following a holiday week had all the makings of a sluggish performance. To make matters worse, upon arriving at the rink and taking the pregame skate, the Flames were down a few players due to sickness and other conflicts. Thus, shorthanded, the game began.
1st Period: Any sluggish performance worries were quickly dashed as the Flames jumped out to a very fast start. Through the first five plus minutes of play, the Flames had mustered 6 shots on goal, and even more scoring chances. During which time, they hadn’t allowed anything even close to a shot on Keenan Alnahas in their net. That would change shortly; kind of. To give you an idea of how this Flames team rolls, they are constantly working hard, looking to improve, and sometimes surprise one another with their level of play. In this case, Sam Hebert spun and fired a slap shot, low and hard, at his very surprised goaltender. Keenan is very good, but he wasn’t expecting a rocket coming back at him from his own team, off of a face off win. Unfortunately Sam has a good shot and the puck found the net and the Raiders led 1-0 despite being outshot 9-0 at the time. Less than two minutes later, with the Flames on a power play, Sam took another slap shot. This time S. Hebert carried the puck up ice, entered the offensive zone with speed and ripped a slap shot to the far side, beating the goaltender to his glove side, under the crossbar. Game tied, 1-1. Shortly thereafter, the Flames struck for another goal when Wil Hebert created some space for himself and got the puck down low to Jackson Puzzo who turned the net from behind the goal line and did something that the Flames have been guilty of not doing enough of this season; he threw the puck to the front of the net. Bingo! Goal! Puzzo’s goal gave the Flames a 2-1 lead and the score remained the same through the end of the period. The Flames had shown up all right, they outshot the home team 15-2 in the period and would have, should have, could have, been ahead by three or four goals.
2nd Period: The Flames once again dominated the second period too. Wil Hebert got the Flames on the board first with an unassisted goal giving the visitors a 3-1 lead. The Raiders answered on a clean breakaway and scored to make it 3-2. The interesting, and almost concerning thing here was that the Flames had allowed 2 goals and only had allowed 3 Raider shots on net. After several penalties assessed to both teams, the period came to and end with the Flames holding a precarious 3-2 lead. The shot advantage was 25-6 in favor of the Flames.
3rd Period: The third period saw action that some of us had feared from the beginning, the Flames short bench seemed to catch up to them some. Well, that and four more penalties taken in the final period. The Raiders played a strong third period, out shooting the Flames 13-10 over the final 15 minutes. Even so, the Flames had numerous chances to extend the lead and even pull away. Finally, almost ten minutes into the period, Sam Hebert scored a power play goal and gave the Flames some breathing room at 4-2. The Flames would take two more penalties before the final whistle sounded. The Flames held, and Alnahas made some terrific saves to make sure the Raiders did not get any closer. The game ended with the Flames earning a 4-2 on the road.
By virtue of the early morning victory, the Flames took sole possession of 1st place in the Mass Selects Pee Wee 00 Indian division. Their record in league play improved to 13-5-0.