McElhinney slick in loss

RANDY SPORTAK -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:47 AM ET

EDMONTON -- As it stands now, Curtis McElhinney has won the backup goalie spot for the Calgary Flames.

He gave the team reason to gain confidence with the decision last night.

McElhinney would probably lament having surrendered a pair of goals in last night's 2-1 pre-season loss to the Edmonton Oilers, but the AHL all-star last season put in a solid performance at Rexall Place.

The 24-year-old Calgarian stopped 19 shots, among them several clutch saves.

"I felt pretty good about the game as a whole, but the biggest issue for me right now is there's been three goals scored in the last minute of periods and that's something that can't happen," said the young goalie. "You don't want to let in the first shot and you don't want to let in a goal in the last minute.

"That's something to work on, focus on, and not let happen in the future."

He was tested early when Dick Tarnstrom unloaded a point shot labelled for the glove-hand side and also when Dustin Penner was wide open from point blank.

Aside from big stops on Shawn Horcoff and Sheldon Souray, he also held his ground when the talented Ales Hemsky had a penalty shot, but fired high.

Still, it wasn't a perfect performance for McElhinney, whose team's pre-season record falls to 1-3-2.

In the final minute of the first period, McElhinney couldn't corral Kyle Brodziak's sharp-angled offering and the puck was loose in the crease before Andrew Cogliano dove into the mess of players and shoved it home.

Souray victimized him with a powerplay goal in the final minute of the second period, by unloading a rocket of a point shot.

Adrian Aucoin scored Calgary's lone goal, a powerplay tally, early in the third period, beating Oilers netminder Dwayne Roloson with a point shot while Warren Peters provided the screen.

Key Flames not dressed were Jarome Iginla, Owen Nolan, Matthew Lombardi, Alex Tanguay, Robyn Regehr and Dion Phaneuf.

Tanguay took part in the warmup but was scratched after feeling tenderness in the groin, with Dustin Boyd dressing at the last moment and getting to the bench halfway through the first period.


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