Black Panthers force Flames into Game 7

The Port Moody Black Panthers clawed their way back to force a Game 7 series final with the Ridge Meadows Flames after the Flames blew an opportunity to clinch the best-of-seven playoff series at home Wednesday night, losing 5-1. The Flames were up in the series 3-1 after winning three straight against the Black Panthers. However, much as Flames coach Tavis Eaton predicted, Port Moody has not rolled over easily, and after winning the last two games by a combined score of 8-1, the series heads to Port Moody for the final game. The Black Panthers didn’t waste any time getting on the board Wednesday night as they scored just three minutes into the opening frame. Port Moody added two more for good measure in the second before Alexander Smith finally got the Flames on the board in the third period with the team’s first goal in six periods of hockey. However, a Flames comeback would not be in the cards as the Black Panthers scored twice in the final frame to seal the victory and force a Game 7. The Flames spent much of the game on the penalty kill, as they gave Port Moody six power play opportunities, only allowing a single power play goal with under four minutes to play. Port Moody, meanwhile, gave up just two power play opportunities to the Flames. Not surprisingly with so much time on the power play, the Black Panthers shellacked Flames goaltender Mackenzie Skapski, firing 46 shots his way, while the Flames could muster just 29 at the other end of the rink. Skapski’s 41-save effort was enough to earn him third-star honours at home, however. The Flames will have one last chance to close out the Black Panthers tonight (Friday) on the road in Port Moody. Game time is at 8 p.m.