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Title - Liam Carter
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Follow Me on TwitterLiam Carter is the Calgary Flames' correspondent for OurHometown.ca. He is an avid hockey fan who loves his Flames! If you have questions or wish to contact Liam, you can email him at lcarter@ourhometown.ca
Shot down in Sunrise, Flames defeated 3-2 in shootout
Liam Carter
OurHometown.ca

Shot down in Sunrise, Flames defeated 3-2 in shootout
After spending upwards of three and a half seasons playing for the Calgary Flames affiliate team in Quad City/Abbotsford goaltender Leland Irving made his NHL debut Friday night in Sunrise, Florida. Unfortunately for the young net minder, a close and competitive game against the Florida Panthers was lost in a shootout.
PHOTO CREDIT - CalgaryFlames.com

Calgary - December 17, 2011 - After spending upwards of three and a half seasons playing for the Calgary Flames affiliate team in Quad City/Abbotsford goaltender Leland Irving made his NHL debut Friday night in Sunrise, Florida. Unfortunately for the young net minder, a close and competitive game against the Florida Panthers was lost in a shootout as the Flames dropped there third straight game on the road.

In what is seemingly becoming the norm for this Flames team, a slow start to the game proved costly as the Panthers managed to strike first in the early stages of the period. Former Tampa Bay Lightning forward Sean Bergenheim scored his first of the game after he converted on a bouncing puck that the Flames defense struggled to control. Had it not been for the rookie between the pipes this game could have got out of hand early, as he managed to make a number of difficult saves in the opening moments of play. At the midway mark of the first, the red hot stick of Olli Jokinen tied the game after he scored on the franchise he spent so many years playing for.

The second frame was probably the most evenly fought out of the game as both teams managed to exchange chances throughout the period. Surprisingly enough after both teams enjoyed extended five on three opportunities the score after two periods remained tied at one. After failing to score on three power play chances in the first forty minutes, Calgary managed to break that trend early in the third when Rene Bourque scored his second in as many nights as he found an opening between the legs of goaltender Jose Theodore. It instantly seemed as if that goal put the flames players into cruise control as they allowed Florida to cycle the puck down low for what was a good fifteen minutes of play, and certainly enough it bit them in the behinds. With less than five minutes to go, Sean Bergenheim scored his second goal of the game after he found himself wide open in front of Irving. Like the night before, this game was headed to overtime.

The four on four play of extra time proved to be exciting as the puck went up and down the ice for the entire five minute time extension. It did not however result in a goal which meant the Calgary Flames were heading into just their second shootout of the season. Alex Tanguay tallied first in the shootout, but three straight failed attempts after that resulted in Stephen scoring the game winning goal for the panthers in the fourth round.

Shootout
Florida -Shawn Mattias - Miss
Calgary - Alex Tanguay - Goal
Florida - Sean Bergenheim - Miss
Calgary - Olli Jokinen - Miss
Florida - Dmitry Kulikov - Goal
Calgary - Rene Bourque - Miss
Florida - Stephen Weiss - Goal
Calgary - Lee Stempniak - Miss


Leland Irving put out a spectacular performance in what was his first NHL game; he stopped an impressive 39 shots on the night as he single handedly gave his team a chance to win. If tonight was any indication of the future this kid can have in Calgary, we may have found ourselves a suitable replacement for the aging Miikka Kiprusoff. Yes, I understand it is far to early to be making such a claim but what we saw tonight it certainly encouraging for what lies ahead for this organization. With the loss Calgary drops to 14-14-4 on the season and will look to get back on the winning column as they prepare for battle against the much maligned Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday.

Three Stars
1. Leland Irving (39 Saves, 0.951 SV%)
2. Sean Bergenheim (2 Goals)
3. Olli Jokinen (1 Goal, 1 Assist)


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