Flames fall flat in third against Steelers

The Ridge Meadows Flames ran out of steam Sunday night on the road against the Grandview Steelers, losing 6-3

The Ridge Meadows Flames ran out of steam Sunday night on the road against the Grandview Steelers, losing 6-3 despite overcoming a three-goal deficit.

After a busy week for the team with three games – two of which went to overtime – and two practices, coach Jamie Fiset said the team had nothing left in the tank late in the game Sunday.

“We ran out of gas in the third,” said Fiset. “[The Steelers] played the night before, but we looked like the tired team out there.”

The Steelers got out to an early lead with a pair of first period goals, and midway through the second, were able to open up a 3-0 lead.

The Flames, however, were not out of the game and for the third game in a row, were able to even the score after falling behind early.

Nolan Wallinger scored his second goal in as many games to put the Flames on the board at 12:49 of the second period.

Matthew Bissett scored on the power play for his eighth goal of the season in the final minute of the middle frame to bring the Flames within one, before captain Alexander Smith scored the tying goal 25 seconds later.

“Even though we didn’t get the start we wanted, once again we were able to come back,” Fiset said. “But we don’t want to make a habit out of it.”

With the game tied 3-3 going into the third, Fiset said he held out hope his team would be able to weather the coming storm.

“We hoped the momentum would carry over into the third, but they came out aggressive and we were caught back on our heels,” he said.

The Steelers regained the lead just a minute and a half into the third period and never looked back as they jumped on the tired Flames, outshooting them 17-8 in final 20 minutes of the game.

“It was the end of a tough week for us,” said Fiset. “It was a minor setback… but it was a good test of our conditioning.”

The Flames will need their stamina as they will have to play nine games in 21 days in the month of December.

The Flames again overcame an early deficit, as they beat the North Delta Devils 4-3 in overtime Friday night at home, snapping the Devils’ five-game win streak.

The Devils came out hot Friday night, taking a 2-0 lead in the first period, shelling Flames’ goalie Wes McLeod with 16 shots.

It wasn’t until the 12:47 mark of the second period that Clayton Lake got the Flames on the board with his first goal in a Ridge Meadows uniform.

Wallinger tied things up five minutes into the third period before Nicholas Coltura put the Flames ahead with a power play goal at 12:02.

The Devils didn’t give up without a fight, however, and managed to tie the game at three apiece with a power play goal of their own with five minutes left in regulation.

With the score still knotted at 3-3, the teams went to overtime, where it was all Ridge Meadows. The Flames outshot the Devils 3-0, as Paul Piluso scored the winner to give the Flames their fourth win in six games.

Coltura was named the game’s first star for his two-point performance, while Marco Ballarin, who registered an assist, was named the game’s second star.

“[Ballarin] was our top player in both games,” said Fiset. “He’s just so versatile. He’s great on the penalty kill, and he can swing a game with a big hit.”

Also notching points for the Flames were Smith, Jacob Taylor, Adam Bartsch, Sean Pesut and Reece Rivard, who each tallied assists.

McLeod finished the night with 28 saves on 31 shots, while Flames were able to muster 25 shots on net at the other end of the rink.

The Flames power play was one-for-three, while the penalty kill allowed two goals on six opportunities.

• The Flames next home game is this Friday against the Delta Ice Hawks at Planet Ice in Maple Ridge. Game time is at 7:30 p.m.

sports@mapleridgenews.com

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