The Ridge Meadows Flames scored a convincing win on the road Wednesday night, knocking off the Grandview Steelers 6-2.
Six different Flames managed to find the back of the net in the highest-scoring game of the season for the local junior B hockey squad.
“The scoring was well distributed throughout the line-up, and that’s a good thing,” said head coach and general manager Tavis Eaton. “We need everyone contributing, so that was good to see.”
Newly-acquired goaltender Wesley McLeod stopped 37 of 39 shots fired his way, earning himself his first win in a Flames uniform.
“The kid’s a good goalie,” said Eaton. “No one’s ever really given him a fair shake, but he’s certainly proven to us he can play at this level.”
The Flames opened the scoring midway through the first period with a short-handed goal from Danny Brandys.
The Steelers drew even early in the second, but goals from Reece Rivard, Keegan Hunter and Matt Bissett gave the Flames a 4-1 lead.
Grandview scored to draw within two with one period left to play, but Sean Pesut restored the Flames’ three-goal lead four and a half minutes into the third.
With Flames defenceman Joe Szabados in the penalty box, Grandview pulled their goalie with five minutes still left to play in a last-ditch effort to close the gap on the Flames by creating a six-on four two-man advantage.
The strategy failed to pay-off, however, as Terence Trusdale sunk the empty-net goal, sealing the 6-2 win for the Flames.
Brandys led Flames scorers with a goal and two assists, and grabbed the game’s first-star honours. The rest of the Flames’ top line also picked up game-star honours, with Pesut named second star, with a goal and an assist, while Bissett picked up the third star, also with a goal and an assist.
Shane Harle and Bradley Wardner also had assists.
The Flames were out shot 39-22 by the Steelers.
Eaton said much credit deserves to go to the Flames’ blueline, as the group did a good job of taking away quality scoring chances.
“As a whole group, I thought we played well defensively,” Eaton said.
“The guys are starting to understand the importance of moving the puck quickly.”
The win moves the Flames ahead of the Mission Icebreakers in the Pacific International Junior Hockey League’s Harold Brittain Conference standings.
With just six points after 15 games, the Flames currently possess the fourth and final playoff berth in the conference.
Eaton hopes to put more distance between his team and the Icebreakers in the coming weeks.
“[This win] was a stepping stone, so we’ll start with that,” he said.
After starting the season 0-8, the Flames are now 3-4 in their last seven games, and Eaton sees reason for optimism.
“We’ve dug ourselves a hole, so now it’s up to us to get out of it,” Eaton said. “And I think we can. There’s been a huge learning curve for this team this year, but the changes we’ve made are paying off. We’re getting better, every game.”
The Flames travel to Abbotsford tonight (Friday) to take on the Pilots, and return home to host the North Delta Devils next Friday, Nov. 18 at Planet Ice in Maple Ridge. Game time is 7:30 p.m.