Bad start costs prospects

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:01 AM ET

PENTICTON, B.C. -- None of the Edmonton Oilers big three prospects were on the ice.

No problem for the Calgary Flames in their Young Stars Tournament meeting, right?

Guess again.

Even without their trio of expected high-impact NHLers in 2010 first-overall draft choice Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Magnus Paajarvi, the Oilers came out of the gates with emotion and that was the difference in a 5-3 victory over Calgary at Penticton's South Okanagan Events Centre.

The Flames have one win and one loss in the tournament, which winds up Thursday when the Flames and Vancouver Canucks face each other.

Prior to the tournament, coach Jim Playfair said it wasn't system play he was looking for.

It was determination.

His team didn't have it when puck dropped.

It was so bad, they were fortunate to be down just a goal at the first intermission, because Leland Irving was very sharp while stopping 15 shots in the opening period. Former Calgary Hitmen blueliner Alex Plante was the only Oiler to put a puck past Irving in the opening 20 minutes.

The break served the Flames well.

Or a tongue-lashing from Playfair provided the much-needed emotion.

First, they drew a series of penal-ties to open the middle period, and took advantage of two of them.

Greg Nemisz, the 2008 first-round choice who will turn pro this fall, put his team on the board by one-timing Lance Bouma's feed past Oilers goalie Tyler Bunz.

John Negrin also scored with the man-advantage in the early going of the middle frame to give Calgary a 2-1 lead.

But the Oilers roared back ahead and made it a 4-2 affair with a series of tallies which included the prettiest tally of the night.

Edmonton's Ryan Martindale made a spin-a-rama pass to Mike Thomas while they drove down the ice on a two-on- one, and Thomas made no mistake.

Chris Vande Velde and Tyler Pitlick tallied, also in the flurry.

However, Calgary's Keith Seabrook fired a top-corner buzzer-beater from the point to make it a 4-3 count.

Calgary couldn't net the equalizer, and Plante iced the game with a powerplay empty-netter.

The players may be prospects, but it appears they have the Battle of Alberta rivalry part down pat.

Edmonton's Cameron Abney dropped Chris Breen in the first of two scraps which came within seconds of each other.

Calgary's Ryley Grantham fought Jordan Bendfeld in the other.

It appeared the nastiness would take another stop when Thomas elbow ed Flames hopeful Giffen Nyren in the chops, which gathered all the skaters on the ice, but cooler heads prevailed.

Late in the game, Bouma drilled Dominik Schlumpf just after he'd shot the puck and immediately had to drop the gloves with Nolan Toigo.

The Oilers have a pair of wins in their games, and finish the tournament Wednesday against the San Jose Sharks.


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