Loss 'Stangs for Wings fan

CAMERON MAXWELL -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:27 PM ET

 Don't count Calgary Mustangs midfielder Sergei Kolomiets-Raad as one of the Calgary Flames' faithful.

 Especially after the Flames knocked off his beloved Detroit Red Wings in Round 2 of the NHL playoffs.

  The Russian would much rather be cheering on his Wings between training sessions with the Mustangs, who take on the Minnesota Thunder today (McMahon Stadium, 2 p.m.) in their A-League home-opener.

 "That's my team and I'm still upset right now," said the 21-year-old native of St. Petersburg, Russia, a big-time hockey fan.

 Kolomiets-Raad smiled when asked if he'd back the Flames now that the Wings are on the golf course.

 "No, I can't do that. I might have to go for Tampa Bay now that I'm living in Florida (in the off-season)," he said.

 Kolomiets-Raad's father introduced him to soccer when he was five. After his minor soccer days, he moved to the U.S. and went to school at Furman University in South Carolina, possibly to get away from the often cold, snowy soccer days in St. Petersburg.

 And yes, Kolomiets-Raad, who also loves surfing, is aware of today's weather forecast, which calls for temperatures around the freezing mark with a chance of snow.

 "I played in the snow a lot over there when I was growing up and I'm used to it now, so if it snows, it's no problem," said Kolomiets-Raad, who has been with the Mustangs for a little longer than a month.

 He's hoping the 'Stangs don't come out cold.

 Calgary lost 2-0 against the Thunder in Minnesota to open the season and the team is not only looking for revenge but wants to put on a good show for the hometown fans.

 "It's the home-opener and we want to come out and do well for them and improve from what happened two weeks ago," said Kolomiets-Raad.

 "I think we have a totally different team now from then. We only had 14 players and three of them were injured. Now, we've got a full 22-man squad and we're just going to come out and play."

 The Mustangs have several imports from Europe to bolster the lineup, in addition to many local players who have been with the team for the past couple of seasons.

 Among those imports are captain Geert Brusselers from the Netherlands, German goalkeeper Lutz Pfannenstiel, striker Zdravko Savic from Slovenia and Belgian defender Frederik Janssens.

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 FLAMES SCRAPPED: Despite rumours Game 1 of the Calgary Flames/San Jose Sharks Western Conference final would be shown on the Jumbotron at McMahon Stadium today, it won't. Team officials hope soccer fans will come out and support the Mustangs, even though the 2 p.m. start is also when the puck drops on the Flames game.


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