The Guildford Flames picked up their first 2 points of 2019 with a closely fought win in overtime against the MK Lightning – A game which could have so easily gone the other way.
The Flames were far from their best but restricted MK to just 5 shots in the first period, however, following what looked to be a good penalty kill, the defence let Golovkovs skate through the middle of the ice to give MK a 1 goal lead going into the first break.
The second was a different story, and MK should have been out of sight on the scoreboard. Following a big 5-on-3 penalty kill, MK piled on the pressure. Chris Carrozzi pulled off a couple of excellent stops, but there was nothing he could do as MK hit the bar, and another 2 efforts hitting Carrozzi’s right post. It was the Flames who picked up the only goal of the period though, as Jordan Abt fired home a Kevin King rebound with just 3:34 left in the 2nd.
Into the third, and there were changes for the Flames as TJ Foster replaced Evan Janssen on the first line, but it failed to provide the change of momentum the Flames needed. Despite the Flames powerplay unit looking ineffective, they did finally manage to score with just over 10 minutes left on the clock and with just 2 seconds left on the man advantage, as the puck fell nicely to Davies; who converted from a tight angle. MK deservedly equalised with under 4 minutes to go through Baillargeon, sending the game to overtime for the first time this season at the Spectrum.
After an edgy start to the overtime period, fortune again favoured the Flames as TJ Foster was caught in a 2-on-1 situation which MK failed to capitalise on. Following a line change and a Flames attack, John Dunbar was then caught on ice, unable to change on the fly as MK pressed for the winner. Ferguson forced a turnover from Wallace and a very tired Dunbar picked up the loose puck, took it the length of the ice, lifted it over a sprawling Armstrong and Ackered fired home to tie up the points.
— Guildford Flames (@flamesicehockey) January 6, 2019
What was key to MK’s success in shutting down the Flames was their discipline in defence. They maintained their formation and didn’t let the Flames set up on the point. In contrast, the Flames found themselves chasing the puck into the corners, leaving at least 1 player with half the zone to himself at times. On another night against another team, the Flames would have been on the end of a heavy scoreline.
Another area of concern for Dixon will be the faceoff circle. Uncharacteristically, the Flames struggled all night and found themselves chasing shadows on numerous occasions. Overall – A much needed, but arguably, lucky 2 points for Guildford. MK will be very disappointed to have lost, but do go away with a very well deserved point.
There is both good and bad news for the Flames going into next week. The good being that they will be able to get a full week of training in for the first time in a few weeks. The bad news is that the U20 world championships start next Sunday, which means that both Josh Waller and Richard Krogh will be leaving for the week – They will miss at least 3 games. Whilst both Watters and Ritt trained on Friday, it remains to be seen how likely it is they will be restored to the lineup when Coventry come to town. The worst case scenario? Flames will be down to just 2 full lines.