Game Blog: Flames vs. Islanders
An in-depth look at the Flames-Islanders in Saskatoon
Post-Game Analysis: 3-2 FINAL
Both squads were off to slow starts tonight going scoreless after 20 minutes of play, however once the sticks began to find the net, Stefan Meyer, Curtis Glencross and Ales Kotalik would all score for the Flames in the second period.
The Islanders went to the dressing room to give their heads a shake in their first pre-season tilt of the season. They came out in the third period with energy and found the scoreboard twice to close the gap to 3-2. That wouldn't be enough to solve the hard working second period by the Flames.
Leland Irving saw 20 minutes of play tonight as he stepped in to replace Kiprusoff in the third period. Although he was not faced with too many shots, he was there to shut the door and keep the Flames up 3-2.
"He didn't get a lot of work but made the saves that he had to when he needed to," Head coach Brent Sutter commented on Leland Irving's play in net tonight. "We don't want to give our goalies a lot of work so that's a good thing."
Ales Kotalik with the game winner and Mark Giordano with the first star of the night.
"Tonight was a tough game for us,"said Ales Kotalik on playing the Islanders. "Some guys played last night and were pretty tired. We were able to grind it out and come out hard and get the win."
The Flames are now 5-0 in pre-season action as they now head into back to back games against the only other undefeated Canadian team, the Edmonton Oilers. Just how much does that mean to be on a roll like this even though it's pre-season?
"We have to go into regular season on a streak,good habits start now," Curtis Glencross said of being undefeated. "We're still getting the kinks out, but that's what preseason is all about, it's for getting the kinks out. I think people are starting to get back into the regular season mode so we're excited to get going."
1st Period Action: 0-0
Miikka Kiprusoff gets the call in net tonight at the Credit Union Centre in Saskatoon while Rick DiPietro started for the Islanders.
David Moss took the first penalty of the game just a few minutes into the opening frame but the Flames successfully kill that one off.
Robbie Schremp took the first Islanders penalty for high sticking with just over six minutes to play in the first period.
Just over a minute later, Trent Hunter heads to the box for boarding to give the Flames the two man advantage for 43 seconds. Niklas Hagman comes close near the end of the power play ringing one off the post which would be the best chance the Flames would see on the five-on-three.
Still scoreless after 20 mintues of play. Shots were 6-5 in favour of the Islanders.
2nd Period Action: 3-1
Flames drew first blood less than three minutes into the second period as Stefan Meyer deflected a shot from Adam Pardy. Flames up 1-0.
Less than a minute later, Mark Giordano found Curtis Glencross to put the puck passed a sprawling Rick DiPietro to make it 2-0 early in the second.
With six minutes to play in the second frame, Rick DiPietro attempted to clear a rebound but hit a lucky Ales Kotalik in front which resulted in the puck finding its way to the back of the net. 3-0 Flames.
Shortly after Kotalik's goal, the Flames took a holding penalty giving the Islanders the power play. Robbie Shremp took a hard slap shot from the point in which and watched his rebound shoot out onto the stick of Calvin de Hann. deHann with a clear shot of the net, beat Kiprusoff stick side to get the Isles on the board.
Time would wind down and the score settled at 3-1 through two periods.
3rd Period Action:
Both teams changed goaltenders to start the third period. Mikko Koskinen between the pipes for the Islanders and Leland Irving replaced Miikka Kiprusoff for the Flames.
The Islanders closed the gap to 3-2 just 3:30 into the final frame as Trever Gillies just got a piece of a Zenon Konopka shot from the top of the circle to beat Leland Irving.
The play picked up significantly in the second half of the final period with long periods in between whistles. Both teams with spurts of momentum and pressure yet no goals to speak of since the Trevor Gillies goal for the Islanders early in the period.
The Islanders had heavy pressure in the dying minutes as they pulled their goaltender for the extra attacker. Leland Irving had to be big as did the defenders in front of him as the Isles threw everything at the net looking for the equalizer. Mark Giordano had a huge block on the last Islanders shot to help secure the 3-2 victory.
Author: Kristi Hennessy