2021-2022 was a ‘get off the canvas’ season just getting a schedule in to be back in business after so much uncertainty throughout the pandemic that forced the cancellation of the 20-21 Elite league season.
A year away from operations meant that only a small number of players who closed out 19-20 would ultimately return. In the end, Forwards Brett Ferguson, Ian Watters, John Dunbar and Owen Griffiths were the only 4 holdovers from the last time the club had iced. In goal, Kevin Lindskoug was signed on from Sweden while British netminder Adam Long joined the tandem. On the blueline, the club began the season 1 short of a full complement with 5 new Defenceman that included Canadians Kyle Locke, Alex Yuill, and Jamal Watson, while American Jake Bolton and Swedish native Jesper Alasaari also joined the crew. Up front, British skaters Jordan Cownie, Mac Howlett, and Robert Lachowicz were added along with Canadians Tristan Frei, Levi Cable, Ian McNulty and Chris Gerrie. Flames later completed the Defensive unit with Canadians Spencer Trapp who signed on in November then Mike Crocock with a January arrival shortly after Alasaari returned to his homeland. By mid February, the addition of Canadian netminder Liam Hughes and forward Turner Ripplinger completed the roster that would see out the term.
With mostly a new club kicking off the campaign, things got off to a promising start with a pair of opening weekend Cup wins that ultimately led to a Cup Quarter final spot, losing just once in Cup regulation, and taking 2nd spot in the group. At the same time, the team won 8 of its first 12 league outings and had points from 9 of those evenings for a good run into late November and, in fact, Spectrum’s men held down the league’s top spot on November 27th. After taking just 1 of 4 games in early December, Flames joined much of the rest of the league in Covid protocol forcing a full team 10-day layoff and the first round of postponed matches. Just beyond Christmas the team returned to play, and at that point the good fortune early on seemed to disappear to account for the longest losing run in club history with 10 on the bounce going to the opponent including a 4-2 defeat against Nottingham Panthers in leg 1 of the Cup quarter final. It was Leg 2 of the Quarter where the Flames finally snapped the run with a 3-2 win that did not advance them to the next round but righted the ship for a little more success going forward with 6 wins, and at least a point, across 7 games of 12 through February. As the calendar turned to March, the club joined several other teams in a very tight race for the 5th through 8th table places. With every game holding valuable points, Flames finally secured a playoff spot and a top half table position in April thanks to 6 wins in their final 7 league games.
The good form continued into the playoffs with an aggregate goal 2 game playoff quarter final meeting with 4th seed Nottingham Panthers. Flames held them to a 4-4 draw at home. In all, Flames replied from a goal down 6 times over the weekend to eventually tie it late in the 2nd leg at Nottingham before gaining their first lead of the series with the eventual winner just under 3 minutes from time to collect a 7-6 aggregate win and a spot in the playoff final 4 weekend.
In the 1 game knockout semi final, Flames were down a pair of goals in the final period and managed to pull even, but a Devils powerplay goal with just over 2 minutes remaining pushed Flames to a 3-2 defeat and relegated them to the 3rd place final where they defeated Dundee Stars by a 7-5 count.