Tristan Frei scored his first pair of goals in pro hockey while John Dunbar had his season opener to account for half the Flames goals during a 6-4 road win at Sheffield Steelers.
Things got off to a good start for the visiting Flames when Brett Ferguson had them in an 8th minute lead, but a John Armstrong reply at 13:19 during a 6 skater to 5 situation with a delayed penalty call against the Flames ensured the sides would go to break even on a goal each.
A solid 6 minute run for the visitors across the midway point saw them go 3 goals to the good at one stage. Frei’s opener at 26:35 had them in the lead before Dunbar made it a 2 goal edge shortly after that. A 33rd minute 4 on 4 Ian McNulty strike made it 4-1, but a last minute Anthony Deluca powerplay goal pulled the home team back within a pair to begin the final frame.
After killing an early 3rd period penalty to keep the distance between the sides, the Flames went on to re-store a 3 goal cushion through Levi Cable at 47:20. About 8 minutes out, Marc-Olivier Vallerand answered that one, but Frei’s 2nd, this one shorthanded with less than 3 minutes remaining sealed the ultimate outcome though an Alex Graham strike 5 seconds from time adjusted the final count.
“Any time you come into this building and get a win, you are thrilled,” admitted Paul Dixon.
“They are so talented and so deep, it is not an easy ask to try and come out with the points, and we played well for a lot of the game to be in a position to do that.”
“One thing of concern to take from the game for us is how many penalties we had. I have not taken a look yet but we must have been close to double digits in minor penalties and we simply cannot continue that if we want to win games. We killed some penalties at very key moments to keep us on track for a win, but in future we just want to cut that down to avoid giving the other team those kinds of opportunities to get back into it.”
“They will be fired up tomorrow night on our ice so we are going to have to come out and respond to that huge challenge.”