Junior B Flames return home down 2-0
The Ridge Meadows Flames may have a tough road ahead of them, but at least they are in familiar territory. The local junior B hockey team finds itself down two games to none in its Pacific International Junior Hockey League best-of-seven series with the Aldergrove Kodiaks after Wednesday’s 6-3 loss on the road. Tonight (Friday) the series comes home for the Flames for the first time, and coach Jamie Fiset says he hopes his team can make the most of home ice.
“There’s the sense of familiarity at home, our fans will be there, and there’s less distractions,” he said. The team will need all the help it can get as going down 3-0 to Aldergrove will likely be too big a deficit to overcome.
“This is a do-or-die game for us,” said Fiset.
The Flames dropped the second game of the series 6-3 on the road Wednesday night in a game Fiset believes was winnable after the first two periods. The Flames took an early lead thanks to Matthew Bissett, and after a late goal by the Kodiaks, were able to retake the lead in the second after a powerplay goal from Reece Rivard.
“It was big difference from the first game when we were down 4-0 at that point,” he said. “We were playing well.”
But the dying minutes of the period once again proved deadly for the Flames as Aldergrove potted two late goals to pull into the lead and never looked back.
The tying goal was a redirected shot that went off a Flames’ defenceman.
“It was one of those flukey goals,” said Fiset. “You could take that shot 100 times and not get it in.”
The Flames came out aggressive in the third period, but defensive lapses allowed the Kodiaks to put two more in the back of the net in quick succession.
For the Flames to be victorious tonight, Fiset said his club won’t be able to take any shifts off.
“We’ve got to play a full 60 minutes and lay our bodies on the line,” he said. “We’re definitely not blocking enough shots. Too many are getting through and getting tipped and deflected in.”
Jordan Hospes will get the start tonight in net for the Flames after Wesley McLeod was pulled in his last two starts.
Fiset said he plans to shake up his line combinations going into tonight’s game to give more ice time to Marco Ballarin, Alexander Smith and Trevor Harris.
“We need more production out of our second and third lines, and those three have been very productive at both ends of the ice,” said Fiset.
The Flames first line of Matthew Bissett, Danny Brandys, and Sean Pesut will remain intact, however.
• The Ridge Meadows Flames host the Aldergrove Kodiaks in Game 3 of their best-of-seven PIJHL playoff series tonight [Friday] at Planet Ice in Maple Ridge. Game 4 of the series will also be played at home, Monday night at 9 p.m.