Tag Archives: Review

Guildford Flames – November Review

Three full months have now been completed in what is a seven month regular season. It seems absurd to think that time-wise we are nearly at the halfway point already! 26 competitive games have been played, and the Guildford Flames have matched results of the prior month as they registered 6 wins in 9 games.

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Credit – Olly Birth Photography

All game highlights can be found in this article.

The Flames started the month with a fully fit, but bloated roster. With the addition of TJ Foster, the Flames had to sit 1 import skater, and after a bit of a slow start to the season, the undoubtedly talented Jamie Crooks was the man who found himself sat in the stands.

The first game of the month saw the Flames travel to MK Lightning, where with just 0.3 seconds left in overtime, Calle Ackered fired home a trademark rocket to pick up the 2 league points. The following night MK came to the Spectrum for the final Challenge Cup game – This time, the Flames were much more convincing and in winning 5-2, they eliminated MK from the competition.

The following weekend saw the Flames take a huge 6-5 win away from the Steelers at the FlyDSA Arena in what was one of the most entertaining games of the season, then fall short against a very well drilled Nottingham Panthers side, who were undoubtedly fired up after being shut out at home the night before by the Belfast Giants.

And then came the Storm double header…

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The Storm marketing team went in hard on this one following the debacle at the Spectrum at the end of October. And Dixon’s opposite number was also keen to make his feelings known ahead of the weekend.

Storm Head Coach Ryan Finnerty: “We won’t need much motivation for this game. They provided that for us in the last minute of the game down in Guildford I know my guys will be fired up for this one…”

The Flames had to make changes to the lineup due to a groin injury picked up by Evan Janssen, and after a week of build-up, Saturday in the Storm Shelter saw the most disappointing result of the month. Not only did the Flames squander a 2 goal lead, Jordan Abt was on the receiving end of a big (but clean) hit, which saw him sit the rest of the month out with whiplash.

The following night saw the return leg at the Spectrum, and despite being down to just 5 players in defence, the Flames avenged the narrow loss with an 8-3 thrashing, scoring 6 powerplay goals to rub salt into the wounds of a Manchester team who once again failed to maintain discipline on Spectrum ice.

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Credit – Olly Birth Photography

The final week of the month saw the Flames with another big win, this time live on Freesports, as 2 quick goals in the 3rd period saw the Spectrum side come away from the Skydome with 2 more league points.

3 days later they faced the Glasgow Clan for the second time this season as they took the long trip up to Clangus country and for the second time this season, the Flames shut out the Clan.

Finally, the red hot league leaders, the Belfast Giants came to town. It was a valiant effort which saw numerous chances close for the Flames but the luck of the bounce just wasn’t there. Trailing by just 1 goal in the final minutes, Fullerton was pulled twice, and both times the Giants scored. A 4-1 loss was most certainly not reflective of the game.

Another key change half way through the month saw the new King – Ferguson – Foster line split up, meaning that Davies would join King & Ferguson on the second line whilst the immensely skilled TJ Foster join Evan Ritt & Jamie Crooks on the third line.

Both Carrozzi and Fullerton have seen significant runs in the team over the month, and both have been in great form, playing their part in each of the Flames victories over the month.

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Credit – Olly Birth Photography

The return of Jamie Crooks has been a huge positive – 4 points in his last 5 games is the form so many expected. TJ Foster has been even more impressive with 8 points in his last 5: A tally only matched by John Dunbar. Evan Ritt & Kruise Reddick have both picked up 6 points in the last 5 and Calle Ackered is still firing them in.

And once again, Waller & Krogh have looked good despite being limited on ice time. Waller picked up an assist and both he and Krogh have shown no fear whatsoever as they mixed it up along the boards with some irate Storm players, and despite taking some big hits, they remain undeterred and are more than willing to get straight back into the tussle. The fact that Richard Krogh got bumped by a Storm player in the handshake line says all you need to know about how effective he was.

So, despite the Belfast loss, the Flames are looking better as each week goes on, and the team now looks like it has real depth.

Celly

Credit – Daniella West

And now we come to the Flames fan’s voted Player of the Month award. In September, this man was voted 3rd overall. In October, 2nd overall, and this month he goes one better once again and takes a well deserved win with 42.78% of the votes. He has arguably been the player of the season so far:

Calle

Congratulations, Calle! It goes without saying, you were a firm fan favourite coming into this season off the back of an incredible first year with the Flames. It seems like you have not only picked up where you left off last season, but many feel you have been even more impressive this season – How do you feel the season is going for you so far?

“Thank you very much! Yeah I feel that I have got a good start so far and hope we can continue to win games and be successful as a team. After a good summer with a lot training I feel stronger on the ice and that really help me to develop my game. I have such a big passion for hockey so I just want to be better every day!”

December is going to be a real busy month with 13 games. The team is in a good position in the league, plus the Challenge Cup quarter finals are just around the corner – How is the mood in the camp, and given your extended minutes on the ice, how are you feeling physically? Are there any games in particular that you are looking forward to in December?

“December is really busy as you say but we are prepared and looking forward to it. I’m feeling good physically and mentally but of course it’s very tough with all the travel we do. I’m looking forward to the Belfast game on December 8th a the Spectrum. I have friends coming that weekend so it’s always extra fun to play in front of your friends and family when they are here. And of course the challenge cup games.”

Once again you are averaging over a point per game this year. Your trademark slapshot has been leaving numerous opposition players in a lot of pain; some of which have even missed games after being hit – Given your points return, do you find that you are getting more attention, or are you getting a little more room when you wind up a shot these days? Some players look terrified when you’re about to shoot!

“I love to shoot the puck and I actually don’t feel that I get more space. The other teams always try to be very close to me so sometimes it’s hard to get an open spot.

“To all Flames fans – I really appreciate your support and involvement during the games! Love to play in front of you and keep going! Hopefully we will have another successful year together.

“Go Flames!”

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This month is the big one. With 13 games in December which sees the 5th placed Flames take on the teams currently occupying the rest of the top 7, it will be a month which will make or break the season for them.

The Panthers visit the Spectrum on the 1st to kick the month off, followed by a trip to the Blaze on the 2nd. A tough midweek trip to Cardiff is then followed by the return of the Giants to the Spectrum on Saturday 8th.

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Six games in eleven days then follow for the Flames – Firstly, midweek Challenge Cup action at the FlyDSA, then it’s up to Scotland to face the Fife Flyers on Saturday 15th, then they drop into Nottingham on their way home for another tough game. Wednesday 19th sees the second leg of the Challenge Cup game at the Spectrum against the Steelers, and then there’s more Steelers action as the Flames once again return to the FlyDSA on Saturday 22nd. And if that’s not enough of a challenge, the Cardiff Devils then come to the Spectrum on the 23rd.

And there is no break for Christmas as such – Boxing day is the start of an MK double header (away, then back home the next night).

The last game of the year is the 30th December as the Cardiff Devils visit the Spectrum once more to complete a gruelling schedule.

Wow.

December will be tough for all the Elite League teams. The league cannot be won, but a poor month could well see teams out of the running. And amongst that – The first trophy up for grabs is in the knock out stages. For fans of the Guildford Flames, such a stern test will without doubt be season defining one way or another.

Full calendar available here via GuildfordFlames.com

November Highlights

Saturday 3rd – League

MK Lightning 1 – 2 Guildford Flames

Sunday 4th – Challenge Cup

Guildford Flames 5 – 2 MK Lightning

Saturday 10th – League

Sheffield Steelers 5 – 6 Guildford Flames

Sunday 11th – League

Guildford Flames 1 – 4 Nottingham Panthers

Sunday 17th – League

Manchester Storm 3 – 2 Guildford Flames

Sunday 18th – League

Guildford Flames 8 – 3 Manchester Storm

Wednesday 21st – League

Coventry Blaze 2 – 4 Guildford Flames

Sunday 24th – League

Glasgow Clan 0 – 3 Guildford Flames

Sunday 25th – League

Guildford Flames 1 – 4 Belfast Giants

Featured Image – John Uwins Photography

Flames Legend Series – Andy Sparks

Welcome to the Guildford Flames Legends series. A series which will put the spotlight back onto the great players which formed such a vital part of the history of the club. Players who created many special moments on ice and players who helped build the infrastructure of the club; Cult heroes, championship winners – The very players who we think about when the “good ol’ days” are discussed.

Continue reading Flames Legend Series – Andy Sparks

Guildford Flames – October Review

Following a mixed bag of results in September, the Flames would have been hoping for better in October. The month consisted of 9 games for the Flames, 8 of which counted towards the league and just 1 towards the Challenge Cup group. The outcome? Things are on the up!

Continue reading Guildford Flames – October Review

Second year blues for Finnerty?

It’s no secret the Elite League has gotten faster and more skillful, almost annually some might argue. The most notably improvement may have occurred this off-season when the defending champions, Cardiff Devils, got even stronger with some sensational new recruits. Why bring in up this you may ask? Well, just one year removed Ryan Finnerty  brought together a roster which shocked the league with a second place finish; something which may now feel an eternity away for some sections of the fanbase in Manchester. The reasons behind this drop-off will discussed below, as the Storm have opened up with a disappointing 5-8-1 record and the article will acknowledge how the gap has grown between last years table toppers. A case of the second year blues perhaps?

Continue reading Second year blues for Finnerty?

Blaze Bow Out Of Challenge Cup; Performance Review

The Blaze lost to the powerful Cardiff Devils in a 4-0 shutout, but there were still moments in the game that made me hopeful as a supporter, as well as those that made me nervous.

Continue reading Blaze Bow Out Of Challenge Cup; Performance Review

Oil County: Player Reviews

After coming up short in an unusual season opener in Gothenburg, on Olympic sized ice, against an impressive New Jersey Devils side- the Oilers have yet to hit their stride. Going 3-3-1 through the first seven encounters, which is only good for 6th in a highly competitive Pacific Division, some roster positions will soon be under the spotlight. A spotlight that shines a little brighter in a Canadian hockey market.

Player Review:

Cam Talbot

Talbot has been the starting netminder in Edmonton for the past four seasons, but after somewhat of a disappointing 2017-18 (3.02 GAA, .908 SV%) and sluggish start to the new campaign (3.15 GAA, .891 SV%) his positions on the team may be considered if his form does not improve. During this off-season, the Oilers fought of stiff competition for Finnish stopper Mikko Koskinen, who a contract signed for $2.5 million and which includes a No-Trade Clause. This clause is all the more poignant, if you consider Talbot’s expiring contract and lack of form, the Oilers front office may look for possible trade suitors. Although, Talbot does appear to have the trust of head coach, Todd McLellan, who thus far opted for Talbot in all matches, but after shipping six (including 3 soft goals) in his last outing it is expected Koskinen will take the crease in the very near future.

Oscar Klefbom

This young Swedish defenceman has often been viewed as the shining light in a largely gloomy backdrop of failed prospect development (Taylor Hall, Justin Schultz, Nail Yakupov to name a few) in Oil county. Having been taken 19th overall in 2011 draft, Klefbom was allowed to remain in Sweden and to continue his development by representing Fårjestad BK in the SHL. Klefbom is now into his 5th NHL seasons, with a shade over 250 regular season appearances. Injury to Andrej Sekera and inconsistent play by Adam Larsson his seen Klefbom emerge as the number one defenceman in Edmonton. A cap friendly contract, averaging $4.166 million, which does not expire until 2023 will be seen as a bargain by many if his level of play can be maintained.

Dylan Strome

Strome has the slightly unfortunate disposition as third-line centre for an Oilers side blessed with two of the best centres in the entire league (McDavid & Draisaitl). Although, his importance to the side cannot be understated. Strome arrived following a trade with the Islanders which saw long-time Oiler Jordan Eberle sent packing. After impressing last season with 34 points (13G 21A) in 82 appearances, Strome saw his contract renewed ($6.2 for two years) but has since seen his play faultier. Yet to register a point, his linemates have rotated almost every outing as McLellan looks for a more productive bottom six. Although, with Alex Chiasson returning to the NHL with a brace and the ever-willing Tobias Rieder his most likely linemates in the next few games, Strome should expect to get his season rolling shortly.