Jamie Crooks had a natural Hat Trick in the opening frame to stake the Flames to a 3-0 lead then added a 3rd period 4th and finally an empty net 5th to close out a 5 goal evening and a 6-3 win over the visiting Cardiff Devils.
Just before the 5-minute mark, Crooks took a faceoff win and the deflected shot floated behind Ben Bowns. At 13:29, Crooks doubled the difference then completed his natural Hat Trick with a one-time bullet just after powerplay expiry a little over 2 minutes from period time.
It took only 99 seconds after puck drop in period 2 for Devils to get on the board through Blair Riley, and they were within a single a few minutes after that thanks to Joey Martin, and that slim difference saw out the remaining period time.
At 43:20, Flames re-stored a 2 goal lead with a TJ Foster goal, but Devils pulled it back to a single yet again through Evan Mosey in the 47th minute. Flames got in a bit of penalty trouble in the final 12 minutes; forced to kill a Corbin Baldwin minor and a Foster double minor. Shortly after, however, the home team went back to the powerplay and they opened a bit more distance when Crooks buried his 4th. With time on short supply for Devils, and playing with their net empty, Crooks closed out a rare 5 goal evening when he lobbed it into the empty net to guarantee the result.
“When it’s your night, it is your night, and certainly it was Jamie Crooks’ night which helped turn it into our night,” concluded Paul Dixon.
“If the game was measured by puck possession time, certainly Cardiff had the puck more than we did, but it was one of those evenings when we were just able to get the scoring when the opportunities presented and getting a heavy early lead makes it a difficult job for an opponent. Even when they got back in it, and were within a goal twice, we were able to grab that next one each time to eventually put them in a time crunch.”
“We have had many games where we had a lot more of the territory over the evening and came out on the wrong end of the score so it is nice to have played a great team like Devils, and been able to weather their pressure and take the win to our side of the ledger.”