After falling behind by 3 by the time the game was about 22 minutes old, Flames rallied for 4 straight, including a late Peter Crinella winner to take a 4-3 win over Cardiff Devils in front of a sold out Spectrum crowd.
Flames had 3 consecutive powerplays that couldn’t find the mark, then at 15:42, just as the Devils returned to full strength on the last of those, Ryan Barrow put his team in front. About 20 seconds from period close, Flames took a pair of penalties simultaneously to be 3 men against the 5 man Devils poweplay unit and the visitors wasted no time taking advantage through Cole Sanford to take a 2-0 lead at the break.
In the 2nd, just after the continuing 5 on 4 Devils powerplay expired, they extended the advantage to 3 with a Trevor Cox strike, but Flames clawed back into it with a pair before the period ended. Brett Ferguson was able to cut into the deficit at 28:46, and Matt Tugnutt in his Flames debut had them within a single just over the halfway point.
In the 47th minute, the Flames powerplay converted through Patrick Bajkov to bring them fully level and just over 7 minutes from close, Crinella had the decider ahead of his side defending a last minute Devils 6 on 4 manpower advantage to secure the win.
Eamon McAdam turned away 20 of 23 shots, while Ben Bowns was good on 37 of the 41 he faced.
“We missed out on 3 powerplays in a row early on in the game,” explained Paul Dixon, “then they replied on their first opportunity with the 5 on 3 and a virtual powerplay goal on the leftover situation in the 2nd put us in a bad spot.”
“Missing those early opportunities was not ideal, but you are not going to score on every powerplay and we made it count later on to get us back level.”
“Credit to our guys for not quitting and believing we could still pull it out. It is an exciting way to finish a game and certainly sets up tomorrow’s visit to Cardiff.”