Flames get their first point on the board

Surrey Advertiser - - Front Page -

JOHN Dun­bar had a goal and an as­sist, and Guild­ford Flames se­cured their first Elite League point when they tied the game to force over­time at Not­ting­ham Pan­thers.

But Robert Farmer scored early in the ex­tra ses­sion to de­liver Pan­thers a 3-2 win on Satur­day.

Just 24 hours later, how­ever, the Sh­effield Steel­ers jumped on the Flames early and of­ten, scor­ing the opener shortly af­ter face-off and ad­ding a cou­ple more for three unan­swered first-pe­riod goals that set the pace for an even­tual 7-1 win at Spec­trum.

At Not­ting­ham, Michael Gar­nett and Brian Stewart held the op­po­si­tion score­less with 11 and 10 saves, re­spec­tively, in the open­ing set.

Stewart went on to pro­duce a 42-save night on Satur­day while his coun­ter­part made 32 stops.

Around eight min­utes into the sec­ond pe­riod, Dun­bar started the scor­ing to give the vis­i­tors a 1-0 lead, but the Pan­thers replied with goals from Alexan­der Mok­shant­sev and Brett Per­lini in the back half of the frame for a 2-1 ad­van­tage at the break.

Spec­trum’s men killed a Dun­bar penalty be­fore he stepped out of the box and helped set up the ty­ing goal by Kruise Red­dick on ex­actly 49 min­utes, paus­ing the of­fen­sive record un­til Farmer’s counter grabbed the hosts an ex­tra point a lit­tle over a minute into the tie-break­ing set.

Robert Dowd kicked off the Steel­ers’ scor­ing scree on a pow­er­play on Sun­day less than two min­utes into the con­test. Jonathan Phillips added another in the 11th minute and John Arm­strong, at 16:21, sent the Steel­ers into the break three goals to the good.

Early in the sec­ond pe­riod the Flames pulled one back with a David Lil­lieström Karls­son strike but shortly af­ter that re­ply, the vis­i­tors went back to the pow­er­play where Colton Fret­ter re­stored their three-goal ad­van­tage be­fore Dowd’s sec­ond of the evening, at 33:56, had the Steel­ers in com­mand at 5-1 through two pe­ri­ods.

The York­shire out­fit added a cou­ple more in the fi­nal ses­sion – Arm­strong’s sec­ond of the evening at 41:55 and Liam Kirk’s marker in­side the last 10 min­utes – to com­plete the re­sult.

“In our cir­cum­stances, I think get­ting a point at Not­ting­ham against another of the league’s premier teams is not a bad out­come,” said Flames head coach Paul Dixon, “[it was] a bit of a re­ward while try­ing to keep an eye on the big­ger pic­ture, rather than just the score­board.

“I would have liked to have seen that out­come re­sult in a lit­tle more con­fi­dence on Sun­day, though.

“I think if you took one theme from Sh­effield’s visit, it would be that we came out as ten­ta­tive as we have since the sea­son started, and we didn’t get mov­ing the way we need to.

“That made it dif­fi­cult to forecheck ef­fec­tively, it made it dif­fi­cult to com­plete passes and it made it dif­fi­cult to kill penal­ties.

“We were flat-footed against a very quick team, and we can’t af­ford to be back­ing up on teams who are so deeply tal­ented and ca­pa­ble of com­plete domination if we don’t try to limit their time and space.

“We have said all along that we are just try­ing to fig­ure out ways to com­pete in this league.

“We knew there would be nights like that.

“Satur­day was a great re­ward and Sun­day was a valu­able les­son, both are games which we can hope­fully use to be bet­ter go­ing for­ward.”

42 saves – Brian Stewart

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