The Ridge Meadows Flames prevailed in a battle of first-place teams, defeating the Grandview Steelers 4-3 in overtime Sunday in Burnaby.
Alexandre Furlan led the Flames with two goals, including the overtime winner, and an assist.
In overtime, the U.S.-born prospect broke down the left wing, beat a Steelers defender wide, and snapped a shot through the five hole that left Grandview goalie Matteo Paler-Chow looking skyward.
He’s a good goaltender, said Flames head coach Bayne Ryshak, but Furlan has one of the best releases on the junior B circuit.
“It was a great game between two first-place teams,” said Ryshak.
Andrew Strelezki had a goal and two assists, while Braedon Fleming earned another win in net.
The Flames now have a record of 8-1, and first overall in the Pacific Junior Hockey League.
Grandview fell to 5-0-0-3, still first in the Tom Shaw Conference.
The junior B Flames edged the Richmond Sockeyes 2-0 at home Friday.
Bradley Crompton got the game winner late in the first period. With the Flames about to get a power play, the goaltender came to the bench and Crompton jumped over the boards as the extra attacker. As he cruised into the slot he took a pass, shot, picked up his own rebound and scored. Halen Cordoni and Ryan Crosby-Jones assisted on the play.
Richmond has been a tough team for a long time, and the Flames had to work for the win.
“It was one of those games where you have to be really patient, and trust your process,” said Ryshak.
Jacob Dorey got an insurance marker later in the third period. Protecting a lead, the Flames were keeping the puck deep in the Richmond zone, and Quenton Magnuson and Brendan Black had a frustrating cycle going, until Dorey got open in the slot and buried his chance.
Fleming made 33 saves for the shutout, as the Flames were outshot 33-24, benefitting from two late power plays.
It was the second shutout in four starts for Fleming, and the Flames’ third shutout of the year.
Strelezki and Crompton are tied for third in league scoring, both with 14 points.
But the Flames are more excited about the points they are piling up in the standings.
“It’s important to get points early on in the year,” said Ryshak, explaining that it is a tight league, and teams improve by making trades, and by their rookies gaining more confidence.
He said he relies on his veteran players to keep the team from getting too high during a hot streak that hasn’t been seen in more than a decade, if ever.
“We just take it game by game. They’re a fun group to coach because they’re focussed, dialed in, and they’re having fun.”
On Friday the Flames host the Delta Ice Hawks at Cam Neely Arena, at 7:30 p.m.
- The Flames have a new set of jerseys, and are taking orders from the public for the coming week.