Close call assists Raiders to 3-2 win
Saturday afternoon the Flames hosted the North Shore Raiders at West Side Arena for a 2:30 pm tilt. The Flames played well for extended periods of time, but lost 3-2, giving up goals when their play broke down.
In the first period the play was fairly even, with maybe, a small edge going to the Raiders. The Flames did get 9 shots on goal to the 8 shots taken by the Raiders, but the visitors won the period 2-0. Both Raider goals came on defensive breakdowns while the Raiders held the puck in their offensive end. The two goals were similar in execution. The puck was worked from the left-wing side of the ice with passes that found wide open players in the slot out in front of Flames goaltender, Anders Lindberg. On the first goal, Lindberg made the initial, point-blank save, but an uncovered Raider was there to put the rebound home. The second goal was of the tic-tac-goal variety. Both goals were nice hockey plays with the common denominator being the wide open player in the slot.
The second period was a case of pure domination by the Flames. They not only won the period 2-0, but they also carried play and outshot the Raiders 14-4. Sam Hebert scored both goals, the first being an unassisted rush finished with a slick move in tight to beat the goaltender. The second goal, also scored by Hebert, was a solid hard-working players goal. Zachary Bayer and Sean Moore worked the puck form one to another, getting a good shot on net. The shot was stopped initially, then Hebert jumped on the loose puck and tied the game at two apiece with the rebound goal. Flames shots continued, yet none would find the back of the net.
Then with just 2.5 seconds left in the period the Flames momentum would be lost. With the Raiders attempting to rush the puck up ice, Flames defenseman, Jackson Puzzo made a strong stick check on the Raider player, freeing the puck. The Raider forward went sliding on his knees as his path had been cut off. At the same time Sam Hebert was skating hard in his back checking role. Hebert skated past the fallen forward to retrieve the puck. Immediately the referee’s arm went up and the whistle blew. The call was signaled for checking on Hebert. The call was made, the visual proof was scarce, and the explanation was excusatory. Either way, the Flames started the 3rd period short-handed.
With just 10 seconds left on the Hebert penalty to open the period, the Raiders scored, taking a 3-2 lead. For the next 8 or 9 minutes of play neither team played well. Both teams had lost any flow they had earlier and the play was choppy at best, which favored the team holding the lead. Then in the last 4+ minutes the Flames reappeared. They reeled off six shots on goal in the last four minutes and carried the play. With 59.3 seconds to play, the Raiders were called for a cross checking penalty while the Flames were swarming the opponents net. On the power play, the Flames pulled Lindberg in favor of an extra attacker. The Flames mustered an offensive attack but were unable to tie the score. Final, Raiders 3; Flames 2.
The Flames will need to bounce back quickly as they play two road games on Sunday. First, they travel to Phillips Exeter Academy for a game vs. NH East. Then they play a late afternoon game at Hallenborg Arena vs. the Bulldogs White team.