Zav­gorod­niy mak­ing im­pact with Flames rook­ies

Calgary Herald - - SPORTS - KRIS­TEN AN­DER­SON kan­der­[email protected] www.twit­ter.com/KDotAn­der­son

Much like an­other un­der­sized winger in Cal­gary, Dmitry Zav­gorod­niy gets no­ticed for his size. Or lack thereof.

But much like Johnny Gau­dreau has done his en­tire life, the 18-year-old daz­zles with his skill, shifti­ness, and abil­ity to con­trol the puck — and in­stantly, shifts the mind­set of who­ever is watch­ing him.

Listed gen­er­ously at five-foot­nine and 175 pounds, Zav­gorod­niy wheeled around the En­max Cen­trium ice and cashed in on a pair of im­pres­sive goals — both set­ups from Dil­lon Dube — which, at one point, had given the Flames a three-goal lead on the Oil­ers.

The fi­nal score be­tween the two club’s rookie squads was 6-3 for the Flames which, at this time of the year, is ir­rel­e­vant.

But what was rel­e­vant was the fact that Zav­gorod­niy was able to hold his own among a mix of ju­nior-aged and Amer­i­can Hockey League/ECHL play­ers.

It helped that he was play­ing with Dube, who is bound to get a long look at the Flames main camp and po­ten­tially could crack the big club ros­ter this fall.

Yet it was clear Zav­gorod­niy has a nose for the puck and was an ab­so­lute night­mare for the Oil­ers around the net.

Skat­ing for the Ri­mouski Oceanic of the QMJHL last sea­son, the Omsk, Rus­sia, na­tive had 26 goals and 21 as­sists for 47 points in 62 games in his first sea­son on North Amer­i­can ice. The Flames snapped him in the sev­enth round (198th over­all) this sum­mer in Dal­las and seemed to have known some­thing that no one else did about the kid.

Other no­ta­bles from Wed­nes­day’s clash? Flames net­min­der Tyler Par­sons was dom­i­nant early as the Oil­ers pep­pered him with six shots in the open­ing 10 min­utes. He stopped all six and only al­lowed one goal — a rocket from Luke Es­pos­ito whose un­cle is Mark Messier (yes, THE Mark Messier) — on 13 shots in the open­ing pe­riod and a half.

The other pe­riod and a half, Ma­son McDon­ald strug­gled, let­ting in two quick goals on four shots in the sec­ond pe­riod.

Up front, D’Artag­nan Joly also scored for the Flames, fin­ish­ing on an ini­tial shot from Adam Ruz­icka. Later, Ruz­icka went five-hole on a breakaway to break a 3-3 dead­lock with 5:42 elapsed in the third pe­riod. Glenn Gawdin made it 5-3 on the power play with his sec­ond re­bound with eight min­utes to go.

With Spencer Foo and An­drew Man­gia­pane scratched for Wed­nes­day’s clash, Dube’s line­mates from Sun­day’s game, the 20-year-old Cochrane na­tive con­tin­ued to dom­i­nate just like he did in the Flames’ 7-3 vic­tory over the Oil­ers on Sun­day at the Sco­tia­bank Sad­dle­dome.

Dube was by far the best player on the ice and dis­played how strong he is on his stick, par­tic­u­larly one-on-one with Oil­ers de­fence­man Marc- Olivier Cre­vierMorin, who had thrown him off the puck at the Flames’ blue line in the first pe­riod. On the next se­quence, Dube knocked him over in the Oil­ers zone. Then, when Cre­vier-Morin tried the same thing at cen­tre ice, Dube shifted out of his way and cre­ated a two-on-one.

Play­ing a pile of power-play time — one of the key ad­van­tages to re­main­ing in North Amer­ica while the ma­jor­ity of the big squad is in China — Dube, Zav­gorod­niy and Brett Pol­lock played keep-away from the Oil­ers on a man ad­van­tage in the fi­nal six min­utes.

Pol­lock, as­sisted by Zav­gorod­niy, scored Cal­gary’s sixth goal.

Also scratched were de­fence­man Oliver Kyling­ton and goal­tender Shane Farkas.

Evan Polei and Cameron Her­big also scored for the Oil­ers.

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