Ridge Meadows Flames fall to Mission City Outlaws in home opener
The Ridge Meadows Flames blew a three-goal lead to fall 4-3 to the Mission City Outlaws Friday night in their home opener at Planet Ice in Maple Ridge.
The Flames took an early lead thanks to a goal from captain Alex Smith 6:44 into the first period. Marco Ballarin added a power play goal midway through the period, while Adam Bartsch potted a short-handed goal late in the period to give the Flames a 3-0 lead.
However, the lead was short-lived, as the Outlaws rallied with four goals in the second period.
“I think we got ahead of ourselves,” said Flames head coach Jamie Fiset. “Mission is a much better team then last year, and we let our guard down.”
Adam Callegari scored at 10:51 in the second to put the Outlaws on the board with a shorthanded goal. Little more than a minute later Cameron Bertsch had his first of the season to bring the Outlaws within one goal.
Despite that wakeup call, the Flames continued to afford Mission scoring opportunities late in the second period. Mission scored two more goals before the end of the period to take a 4-3 lead.
“We were just going through the motions for those 10 minutes,” said Fiset. “For 50 out of 60 minutes, we were the better team Friday night, but that’s not good enough.”
Flames goalie Jeff Smith saw only 13 shots in the second period, but Fiset said he the rookie couldn’t be blamed for the team’s misfortunes in the middle frame.
“He had a good debut, I thought,” he said. “It’s a shame we hung him out to dry defensively in the second [period].”
The Flames regrouped in the second intermission, and pressed hard for the equalizer, firing 21 shots on Mission goalie William Latimer, more than in the first two periods combined. However, the Flames were unable to find the back of the net
“In the end, we got beat by a very good performance in goal,” said Fiset.
With the loss, the Flames fall to 0-2 this season. The Flames next face the Grandview Steelers at home this Friday, a team that beat them 5-1 in preseason play. In that loss, much like Friday’s, Fiset said his team took their foot off the gas.
“It was 1-1 halfway through the game and we let up,” he said. You can’t do that if you want to win games.”
Smith had 30 saves on 34 shots, while the Flames had 38 shots on the opposing net.
Rookie forward Michael Nolan was named the game’s second star after setting up the Flames first goal of the game.
“He played outstanding,” said Fiset. “He was an offensive threat every time he was on the ice.”
• The Ridge Meadows Flames host the Grandview Steelers this Friday (Sept. 21) at Planet Ice in Maple Ridge. Game time is 7:30 p.m.