Top pick inspires his mates

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:00 AM ET

The latest goalie of the future proved he deserves that first-round draft choice praise in backstopping his team to victory in the Calgary Flames rookie intra-squad game yesterday at the Saddledome.

Leland Irving, the 26th pick at this year's draft who toils for the WHL's Everett Silvertips, held strong in his half of play to help earn Team Red a 4-2 win over the Black squad.

Taking the net while the score was tied at two apiece, Irving came up with several big stops, including one on an Eric Nystrom one-timer.

Buoyed by that performance, Carson Germyn -- one-timing a perfect pass from Brandon Prust -- and Adam Cracknell scored for the Red side to make the difference before several hundred appreciative fans.

The Black squad held the edge through most of the game and stormed out early with goals by David Van der Gulik and Justin Taylor. It could have been worse had it not been for strong goaltending courtesy of Matt Keetley.

The Reds responded by intermission (between the two 25-minute halves) thanks to goals by Andrei Taratukhin and Dan Ryder.

There were a few bone-crushing hits, too, highlighted by a thunderous Cam Cunning blow delivered to Aki Seitsonen and another that saw Jordan Henry punish Tim Ramholt.

The rookies will meet again tonight at the 'Dome, with puck drop at 6:30 p.m.


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