6 periods, 2 overtime periods, a shootout, 5 netminders and 25 goals. For fans of both teams, it was spectacular, it was dramatic, but it was equally infuriating as the offence amazed, the defence collapsed, timeouts were called, goalies were pulled and at the end of it, both the Guildford Flames and Coventry Blaze came away with 3 points apiece.
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.
It’s the halfway point and the Guildford Flames go into 2019 with their first ever EIHL semi-final to look forward to! But however you dress it up, it’s been a rough December which has separated the best from the rest, and unfortunately, the Flames have fallen into the latter category.
So we have made it to the 9th edition of Behind The Bench, and just in time for Christmas as promised! For the final interview from the bowling night you will need to turn up the volume because rather than just writing, the best part of the interview will be audio!
This mini bowling series seems to have gone on forever, but this really was the very last interview of the evening after most people had left. In fact, just the best friend duo of Evan Ritt and Evan Janssen remained out of the players. Janny was more than happy to come and chat and it seemed silly to not have his partner in crime join us at the table.
Now, several people will have already heard this interview because whereas before the interviews were quite low-key, all eyes were now on the table. With a small crowd gathered around, Janny & Ritt were more than happy to entertain us all!
Name? Evan Janssen
Position? Left wing
NHL team? Chicago Blackhawks
Hockey hero? Uhhhh…
Ritt: “Jim Montgomery?”
Janssen: “Yeah, Jimmy Montgomery”
Favourite UK rink (apart from the Spectrum!)? I’d have to say Sheffield… Yeah, it’s a nice rink
Mike: “What do you like about Sheffield?”
Janssen: “It’s a cool atmosphere, they get a big crowd and the rink is pretty nice, it’s a lot bigger”
Hidden talent/hockey party trick? Dancing. Next question!
Favourite actor? Chris Pratt
Ritt: (Laughing) “Ed Sheeran?”
Janssen: “No…. Chris and I are twins”
Ritt: “No no, I think Ed Sheeran’s more like it!”
Janssen: “I don’t know who Ed is”
Ritt: “He really likes Ed more!”
Janssen: “He’s not an actor!”
Ritt: “He’s a performer”
Janssen: “I’ve never heard of him”
Who is the dressing room prankster? “We really don’t do any… Have we?”
Ritt: “I said Benny or Willsy”
Janssen: “They’re just always after eachother”
Favourite band? Kygo!
Ritt: “Ed Sheeran!”
Janssen: “I don’t know who Ed Sheeran is”
Ritt: “He looks exactly like him”
Janssen: “No! I have no idea who he is. No clue”
Ritt: “He really likes the comparison but he’s being modest right now”
Janssen: “HATE the comparison”
Fan: “So you just need to colour your hair ginger?”
Ritt: “Yes! Absolutely”
Janssen: “No! I don’t have any ginger in me, I look nothing like him! Now Chris Pratt – We can talk”
Ritt: “No I don’t see it!”
Fan: “That’s been said around the rink a lot. Even if they don’t know his name, they say the dude from Jurassic Park”
Janssen: “Really? See! I’m not lying”
BONUS QUESTION: What’s your favourite dinosaur? Well, the Tyrannosaurus rex! Duh! Who doesn’t like that?!
Who’s the messiest in the changing room? Well, I just have to go with my stallmate – He always puts his stuff on my stall.
Ritt: “That’s funny, I said the same about you!”
Janssen: “I’ve always gotta move everything back over to his so I can open my stuff. It’s super annoying. I don’t ever say anything, I try to be a good guy about it”
Most memorable hockey moment to date? Winning the national championship in college
Your most embarrassing moment? Well I got beat by a girl tonight in bowling. That was a pretty hard hit to the ego
Mike: “And so did you”
Ritt: “Yeah, I got beat by several”
Favourite dressing room prank? I like to fill up a stick with water, then put the plug back in it
And for the final question from the bowling night – Turn up your volume because you need to hear this big reveal from the man himself!
And that was that!
A big thanks to Janny and Ritt, plus all the Flames players who have taken time to speak to CTP this year.
And thank you all for reading. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed the series so far and with a bit of luck, we’ll be back next year with more from the team!
On behalf of all of us at Chasing The Puck, we hope you have a wonderful Christmas and look forward to seeing you at a game soon.
For the second time this week, we are back with another #BTB interview! Which is great news for all who like these Flames player interviews, but bad news for me as my bowling night material has nearly run out and I’m going to have to track down more players… Which isn’t easy when your always with a toddler when at the rink.
The Belfast Giants have announced the shock departure of Francis Beauvillier, who departs the team with immediate effect.
Beauvillier, 25, who joined the Giants from the Manitoba Moose in the AHL, has decided to pursue a career away from the game following a meeting with Adam Keefe and Steve Thornton where he told them his heart was no longer in the game.
Head Coach Adam Keefe: “We were shocked when Francis let us know that he wanted to leave. He asked to speak with Steve Thornton and myself and told us he did not want to play hockey any longer.
“I believe Francis could have success in this league and we are disappointed to be losing him.”
Beauvillier had started life well with the league leaders, picking up 15 points overall in 27 games.
Beauvillier: “I would like to thank the Giants organisation for the past four months – you guys really are true class. Also, I would like to say thank you to the Belfast Giants fans for your loyal support. You guys deserve all of the success this season. I will miss you.”
Featured Image: BelfastGiants.com
With Christmas just around the corner, we here at Chasing The Puck are giving Flames fans the gift of THREE #BTB interviews all before Christmas! (And yes, I did just come up with my own jazzy hashtag!) Oh, and an update from last week’s interview – Baldwin hasn’t hunted me down so I’m guessing I must be in the clear!
Continuing on from last week, the bowling evening was drawing to a close and many players had sneaked out. Luckily, three players still remained – Only issue was they were all being mobbed.
One of these players was ready to go with his coat on, but he’s just far too nice to walk away from the fans who wanted selfies or a quick chat. And I’ll admit – I used this to my advantage, BUT… I did it for all of you!! As he went to walk by I asked if he could spare 2 minutes for an interview and without a second thought he immediately agreed and came to sit down.
Calle Ackered is a man of the people and it is no surprise whatsoever that he is adored by the Flames fans.
Name? Calle Ackered
Age? 27 years old
Position? I’m a D man
NHL team? New York Rangers
Hockey hero? Big hockey hero is probably Nick Lidström
Favourite UK rink (apart from the Spectrum!)? Spectrum definitely and Belfast
Hidden talent/hockey party trick? Ooooh…. I’m very good at beer pong
Superstitions? I start with my left side all the time, pads, skates and everything. I don’t know if it’s really a superstition but I always do it
Favourite actor? Leonardo DiCaprio
Who is the dressing room prankster? Oooo… I don’t know if we have a prankster but a guy who talks a lot is John Dunbar and also TJ Foster is pretty funny. He’s not a prankster but he talks so much, he’s chirping guys
Favourite band? Coldplay
Who’s the messiest in the changing room? *Long pause* CC (Chris Carrozzi)
Most memorable hockey moment to date? When I did my debut in the Swedish national junior team. That was pretty cool
Your most embarrassing moment? I forgot my skate guards were on when I was younger and fell down like Bambi during the intro!
Favourite dressing room prank? Loosening the water bottle lid
What would you do if you didn’t play hockey? I would probably be an actor… No, just kidding! I don’t know. I would love to be an actor though!
So now 2 remain…