Flames took the win on the night, 5-3, and made it interesting with a 4 goal 3rd period, but in the end they could only close the aggregate gap to a pair, ultimately dropping the quarter final combined count by an 8-6 tally.
After defending most of the opening minutes, Flames took a lead when Jesse Craige advanced to the Panthers zone where his wrister eluded Kevin Carr and had just enough steam to edge over the line for a lead that moved the home team within 3 on aggregate which was how things stood through the opening set.
Panthers re-stored their initial combined goal count when they tied it less than 2 minutes into the 2nd through Dylan Malmquist then took a lead on the night and widened the aggregate gap to 5 with a Mark Matheson powerplay strike at 27:09.
Just 81 seconds into the 3rd Flames brought the evening to a couple of goals each with a Kruise Reddick strike. While killing a full 2 minute 3 on 5 manpower shortage, Brett Ferguson was obstructed on a breakaway but he couldn’t convert the ensuing penalty shot to nudge the club in front. Shortly thereafter another Flames penalty extended the 3 on 5, but Spectrum’s men weathered the full infraction time still tied at a pair each. On a Flames powerplay that immediately followed, the home team took a lead right off a faceoff when Craige put the puck on net and Reddick stuffed in the rebound. Hoping to pull within a pair on aggregate, another powerplay went to work, but just as it expired Jon Rheault zipped one past Wouter Peeters to tie the game at 3 while re-establishing the Panthers initial 4 goal aggregate spread. With a game night home win still up for grabs, Surrey’s men didn’t disappoint when a Calle Ackered blast inside the final 2 minutes made it 4-3 then a quick follow up one timer by Craige closed out the 5-3 win.
“There is disappointment, of course, that we could not get all the way back and advance to the Semi Finals, but there is no reason for any of these guys to go away with a long face,” said Paul Dixon.
“Getting mentally up for a game when you are starting 4 goals down alone is a hard work, and then to be able to keep up the effort late when scoring was so hard to come by, and time was clearly on short supply, was also itself an achievement. Thankfully all of that translated to some scoring success and delivered at least a win on home ice.”
“We are not advancing but there is a lot of positive from a game like tonight, so we are going to take that for what it is and now move on to focus back on league play.”
“Congratulations to the Panthers for a great series and we wish them all the best as they try to continue moving forward in that competition.”