Junior B. Flames register first preseason win over Port Moody

The Ridge Meadows Flames junior B hockey team notched its first win of the Pacific International Junior Hockey League preseason on Friday, downing the Port Moody Black Panthers 5-1 at home at Planet Ice.

However, the Black Panthers were able to earn the split, downing the Flames 4-1 as Ridge Meadows travelled to Port Moody Saturday night for its fourth exhibition game of the season.

Despite a 1-3 record in the preseason so far, Flames coach Tavis Eaton said he is pleased by his team’s progress so far.

“It’s not about the wins and losses,” he said. “It’s about working with the guys and getting them ready. It’s all about the process. We’re still feeling guys out”

Eaton says he has been impressed by the play of the many rookies on the team.

In particular, he says the play of Adam Callegari, Kenny Prato, and Trevor Harris has looked very strong.

“They work hard and they have a great work ethic, and they really want their ice time,” Eaton said. “Win or lose this season, we are going to be a team that works hard every game.”

Eaton remains hopeful Matt Bissett and Danny Brandys will both return to the team for the 2011/12 season. Both players are currently trying out for junior A clubs.

Bissett had 56 points in 36 games last season with the Vancouver North East Chiefs major midget hockey club, while Brandys had 72 points in 46 games with the Flames last year, good for second in the PIJHL.

“My hunch is that they may be back… but it’s all talk until they suit up,” said Eaton.

At goal, Eaton says he has been impressed by the play of rookie Jordan Eggert.

“He has really surprised me,” Eaton said. “Jordan and [starting goaltender Tyler Klassen] get along really well, so I’m hoping they will really push each other.”

The Flames play their final two games of the preseason this week against the Mission Icebreakers. The Flames travel to Mission on Thursday, before returning home for their final exhibition game this Friday at Planet Ice.

The Flames open the 2011/12 PIJHL regular season at home on Friday, Sept. 23, against the Grandview Steelers at Planet Ice. Game time is 7:30 p.m.

“Grandview is a good team, they’re well-coached and they are competitive every season,” said Eaton. “It should be a good game.”