Late goal ends Outlaws comeback bid vs Flames

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The Ridge Meadows Flames edged the Outlaws 7-6 in Mission on Saturday night.

It was a see-saw battle that had the Flames leading by up to 3 goals in the second period, but the plucky Outlaws continued to battle back all game long until the final 2 minutes of the third where Bradley Crompton snuffed out the comeback.

Lets rewind back to the first period where it all started. The Flames had the better jump early, and despite the heroics of Matthew Trulsen in net, they had a 2-0 lead midway through the period on a Crompton’s first of the game, the latter a give and go finished off by Ryan MacDonald.

The ‘Laws cut the lead in half with seven minutes left. Moments after Kieran Brunetti was denied by Flames keeper Paul Tucek’s pad stack, he got his revenge. Brunetti  was sent in one-on-one by Kyle Lennea, and slipped a backhand past a sprawling Tucek. Sammy Zeinab the other assist. 2-1 after 20. Shots 21-5 visitors.

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In the second period the Flames capitalized while up a man. It started with a bad Outlaws line change and led to Trulsen making 2 straight highlight reels saves, followed by a shot ringing off the post. Mission defense couldn’t clear, Andrew Strelezki made them pay with a wrist shot in the slot that found pay-dirt at 8:07.

The Outlaws Tyler Wickman shaved the lead after jumping up in the rush. His wrist shot while fending off a back-checker lit the lamp, set up by Brunetti at 10:31.

The Flames restored the lead on the powerplay at 12:39  thanks to Ryan Wellburn, then another courtesy of Alexandre Furlan at 17:16.

With time winding down, Jeremy Zomar took a pass on the right wing, dangled around the defender, cut towards the net and buried a shot 5-hole on Tucek. 5-3 after 40. Shots 14-9 Delta.

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The red light assault carried on in the third period. Michal Holub started a play by corralling a bouncing puck on the right wing. He found Baylee Wright, who caught Justin Bowerman in front of the net. He banged it home at 5:54.

The Outlaws tied the game at 13:10 with the prettiest goal of the night. Wright took an awkward pass in his own zone. He gained speed up the right wing, deeked out a pair of defenders before firing it past Tucek. Holub and Bowerman the easiest assists of their career. 5-5.

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Just seconds after the goal, the Flames responded. Poor defensive coverage behind the Outlaws net led to Brandon Galbraith walking out uncontested. He rocketed a shot top shelf to restore the lead at 13:29.

The Outlaws scored once more to knot the game up. Wright danced his way up the wing again, then slipped a pass to Holub who finished off the play. Bowerman the other assist at 15:14.

The comeback bid was put on the shelf, thanks to a turnover deep in the Outlaws zone with 1:45 left. Crompton found himself with the puck on his stick alone in the slot and made no mistake. 7-6 final. Shots finished 44-22 Flames.

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After the game, Trulsen says he wished he could have done more despite making 37 saves, many of them good scoring opportunities.

“I really wanted to get that win for the boys. We need to stop this slide we are on, and I wish I could have made a few more saves to make that happen” said the despondent net-minder after the game. Trulsen also said the team can’t use the excuse of having Michael Sande, Ryan Sharma and Holden Wilkerson out of the lineup for missing out on the two points.

“It’s never easy (with those guys out) but I believe we have enough other good players that can step up and get the job done. We battled hard, we just came up short.”

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Brenden Saether, the 16 year old defender drafted in the 4th round of the WHL Bantam draft by Tri City, says Trulsen is one of the reasons the Outlaws were able to almost complete the come-back.

“He’s been awesome for us all year. He’s kept us in games, like tonight…he made some pretty outstanding saves.” He remarked.

He expanded on his thoughts about the game against the front running Flames.

“We knew (coming into the third) we could fight our way back. We had plenty of good chances in the second we didn’t convert. It was a real good push from the boys in the third, it’s too bad about the late goal.”

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The Outlaws have the week off before playing their lone game Saturday against the Surrey Knights. Puck drops 6:45 at the MLC.

 

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