Goalfest edged by Blaze
The Flames coughed up an early 4 goal lead, then recovered from 2 goals adrift and took a league point, but eventually fell 8-7 in OT in a Saturday goalfest at Guildford Spectrum.
Spectrum’s men kicked off the scoring early and often beginning with a Kruise Reddick goal at 3:54. Ian Watters tipped in another at 6:15 and exactly a minute later Brett Ferguson made it a 3-0 count. Just 37 seconds after that, Ferguson’s 2nd of the contest had the home team enjoying a 4 goal advantage. With new Blaze Netminder Matt Hackett replaced by Jordan Hedley, Blaze turned things around to close out the frame when goals by Alex Nikiforuk and Tim Crowder just over a minute apart in the late stages cut their deficit to a pair at the break.
Shawn Pauly cut it further less than 2 minutes into the 2nd, but a 24th minute Calle Ackered blast looked to have righted the ship and put the Flames back to a 5-3 lead. Unfortunately for the home team, Chris Joyaux on the powerplay at 24:40 and another Nikiforuk marker not long after that had the visitors fully level. Ben Lake, before the game’s midway mark, had Blaze in their first lead of the contest, up 6-5. A 32nd minute Thom Flodqvist goal chased Flames netminder Chris Carrozzi and put more daylight between the sides, but Flames recovered that one with an Ackered powerplay one timer inside the period’s last 5 minutes.
Nearly 40 seconds of 5 on 3 Blaze powerplay time that spread from the end of the middle stanza to the start of the 3rd threatened further lead extension, but good penalty killing saw the clubs back to 5 on 5 action with the 1 goal difference still on the board. At 49:45, it was the home team’s turn to square it when Kevin King made it an even split of 14 goals, and at least assured his side of a league table point ahead of overtime, but Nikiforuk’s completion of his hat trick 76 seconds into the 3 on 3 extra set gave the Blaze the win.
“We are not privy to the other team’s game plan for any evening, but I feel pretty confident when I say that that neither side was planning for the kind of night we just endured,” surmised Flames Head Coach Paul Dixon.
“It’s hard to decide if we are grateful to have a table point because we recovered a 2 goal deficit or if we are upset we should have had both points because we lost the handle on a 4 goal lead.”
“I guess it is a bit of both perspectives.”
“Between now and tomorrow night we have a lot of things to think about in terms of our play without the puck from the neutral zone back into our own end, and hopefully we can come up with something at Coventry that closes down some of the costly gaps we had tonight.”
“To end on a positive, I guess we matched them with 7 regulation goals, and it is not often you can give up 7 and still get a point so we are going to have to take that and try to make sure in future we are not relying on unlikely offensive output to keep us afloat.”