Flames secure Playoff spot with penalty defeat point
At Milton Keynes, the clubs shared 7 goals in the 1st period and a late regulation leveller nailed down a single Flames conference point, but Lightning closed it out during penalties to record a 6-5 win over the travelling Surrey side. Kevin King wasted little time getting a lead for the Lightning; the Canadian forward had them up a goal less than 3 minutes after puck drop. At 7:25, during a stretch of 4 on 4, Francis Verreault-Paul doubled the difference, but Calle Ackered, on the powerplay, cut the deficit back to a single just 40 seconds later. Before the period was halfway through, the offence continued to flow with Kruise Reddick getting the clubs back to even terms at a couple of goals each. A Brennan Yadlowski Fighting major earned an extra 2 minutes in addition to the original 5, and during the ensuing Lightning powerplay, Denny Kearney nudged them back into the lead. However, another Reddick goal, this one shorthanded inside the period’s final quarter squared it at 3 and an Ian Watters strike seconds from close had the Flames holding a 4-3 advantage at the break. In the antithesis of the opening stanza, neither team could muster a goal in the 2nd, and the slim difference held over to start the 3rd. Shortly after re-start, Lightning tied it with a Lewis Hook strike and with just over 10 minutes remaining Kearney’s 2nd had them back in a lead. With time in short supply, and Flames netminder Chris Carrozzi on the bench for an extra skater, Watters 2nd of the contest forced extra time. The additional period came and went without a goal leaving the decision to penalties where a success by Kearney and stops on all 3 Flames efforts decided the night.
“That 1st period must have been pretty entertaining for the fans,” concluded Assistant Coach Milos Melicherik. “As coaches it was not exactly how we would plan it out but we did a good job of getting ourselves back in it when we were in a bit of trouble early, down by a couple.”
“For most of the rest of the game we were clearly the dominant team, and with a large shot advantage there is understandably a sense of disappointment that we didn’t get out of there with a win.”
“The opportunities were there to take both points, but we just couldn’t make it happen tonight, and on some occasions that is just the way it goes.”
“On the other hand, despite all that, we found ourselves down a goal with a couple of minutes remaining and we managed to do enough to keep the conference chase alive, and seal up a playoff berth in our very first top flight season, so that outcome had a lot of positives and we now look ahead to Coventry tomorrow night.”