BUILDING OFF A BIG WIN
On Thursday night, the Calgary Flames kicked off their 2013 Young Stars Classic tournament with a 5-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers and were dominant offensively through all three periods. They outshot their Alberta rivals 32-19 and spent the majority of the game in the Oilers zone.
Abbotsford Heat head coach Troy Ward lauded his club on their puck possession game, making it known how impressed he was with their play in the offensive zone.
"I thought we managed the puck really well. I thought we made really good decisions," the bench boss said after an hour-long skate at the South Okanagan Events Centre. "The guys that had the puck worked hard to keep it and I thought the other guys worked really hard away from the puck to make themselves available.
"An example is the Ferland goal. Goals like that are really pretty goals and that means we had some selfishness with the puck and we made some complete plays."
Overall, Ward was pleased with his team's defensive efforts but deemed the Flames play without the puck as a work in progress.
"We're just trying to lay the foundation of what we're going to do in Calgary and what we're going to do in Abbotsford. I thought we made some good steps."
Looking forward to tonight's tilt with the Vancouver Canucks, Ward expects to see a bit more cohesion amongst his charges now that they've had a chance to practice together a couple of times and sit through systems meetings.
"It will be a good game because they won (last night) too - it's a good test," Ward mused. "It's another rival we get after.
"It's a big game because of their physicality will play an important role - see how we handle that. And they skate pretty well. I'd like to see us utilize our skill a little bit more and move pucks quicker so they can't get to us."
LEARNING FROM HIS MISTAKE
The Edmonton Oilers second goal on Thursday night was officially credited to Travis Ewanyk but the last player to touch the puck before it ended up in the back of the net was Ryan Culkin. The 19 year-old was understandably frustrated with the play and wanted to head to the bench to cool off.
His defence partner, John Ramage, had other ideas. Ramage knew the youngster would be better off playing through it and would be able to glean a better understanding of the game with that approach.
"He gave up that goal to make it 3-2 and Culks is a young guy; he wanted immediately off. Like, 'I gotta get out of here.' And Ramage said, 'You're not going anywhere,'" Ward said.
"I thought Ramage took the bull by the horns. That was the most interesting part of the game. It was one of those leadership moments you're looking for."
Ortio was the Flames sixth round pick in the 2009 NHL Draft.
"That helped me mature as a player and as a person too, to know what it takes to be there. I took that into my summer training." - Patrick Sieloff on the time he spent in Calgary rehabbing a groin injury last year
Tonight's game will be streamed live on CalgaryFlames.com at 8:30 PM MT.
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