In an emotional return where the entire league honoured and remembered Adam Johnson a week after the devasting accident in Sheffield, Flames scorers fronted a 37 save Eamon McAdam performance to secure a 4-3 win at Belfast Giants.
Flames jumped out to an early 2 goal lead before the game was barely 5 minutes old on the strength of Lewis Hook 80 seconds after faceoff and Patrick Bajkov’s first with the club at 5:15. Giants, tied it later in the frame, however, thanks to a pair by Mark Cooper who cut the deficit at 14:51 and tied it shorthanded at 17:44.
Just 61 seconds into the 2nd, Ryan Tait nudged Flames in front. Quinn Preston levelled for the home team around the halfway point, but a Hook powerplay strike just inside the back half of the period, the winner as things turned out, sent Flames to the 3rd with a lead.
In the final set, Flames were forced to kill 3 consecutive minor penalties and a blast of Giants pressure throughout the set before hanging on for the win.
McAdam faced 40 shots, while Tyler Beskorowany made 8 saves on 12 shots.
“If there is one thing we learned this past week was a bit of perspective,” explained Paul Dixon, “and realizing that there are a lot of things in this life much more important than hockey.”
“On a night like this, forgetting where we were before this very difficult set of circumstances, you just want to get out there and play well first and foremost because we are all blessed to be able to do what we do and maybe sometimes we forget that.”
“Having said that, getting a massive win at Belfast where we do not win often, is a great way for us to cap off a very important evening.”
“We got many saves from Eamon and timely scoring allowed us to lead for a lot of the night which was key to a result where the opponent had plenty of play.”
“We wanted an opportunity at some point to have an evening we can maybe look back on as a turning point to set us in a better direction and hopefully we can build on this and start moving forward with a lot more wins from the games ahead.”