Flames lead ahead of Cup semi final 2nd leg
After opening the 1st period of the 1st leg of the Cup semi final tied at 2 on home ice to Nottingham Panthers, the Flames scored 3 unanswered the rest of the way to secure a 5-2 win and a 3 goal lead heading to leg 2 at Nottingham next month.
The 2nd of back to back early Flames powerplays helped the home team get started when Jamie Crooks got a stick on Erik Lindhagen’s point shot. Just under 4 minutes from period time, Mark Hurtubise stuffed away a loose puck to knot it at a goal each. Shortly thereafter, Lindhagen put away a TJ Foster feed at the side of the goal, but an Alex Guptill powerplay reply 5 seconds from the end of the set had the teams on 2 goals each to start the 2nd.
Just ahead of the game’s halfway point, the Flames made the most of a 5 on 3 powerplay when Ian Watters jammed home a rebound to re-store a lead, and less than a minute from period time, Crooks cleared all defenders to pick up a loose puck and put away the 4-2 marker ahead of the break.
Back on the powerplay early in the 3rd, a Foster shot rattled around in front before being poked to Ben Davies whose rebound deposit extended the Flames lead to the trio that will carry over into the 2nd leg.
“I don’t think we could have come out with a better result than we did tonight,” admitted Paul Dixon.
“The first game of a cup semi is really about keeping yourself in with a good chance in the 2nd leg, and we achieved more than we probably expected in that regard.”
“The score in the past few games has not always reflected what we have done on the ice, but tonight a really strong 60 minute effort by everyone shows in the final box tally and there is no question we are excited to be able to take this into leg 2.”
“Having said that, it is not a massive lead so this series is not over by any means and when the time comes to pay the return visit we will need to be ready for another good effort if we are going to grab a spot in the final.”