BRYAN WILSON – 09.18.2023

The early bird gets the ‘W’.

It was a 10 a.m. local puck drop on Monday morning as the Flames’ prospects battled the Winnipeg Jets in their final game of the Young Stars Classic in Penticton, skating to a 4-2 victory.

William Stromgren picked up a pair of goals for Calgary, Jaden Lipinski had a three-point effort with a goal and two assists, while Adam Klapka notched his second goal of the tournament, and third point in as many games.

Connor Murphy was back between the pipes for the Flames to start the game, while Jari Kykkanen made his first appearance in the tournament, entering action midway through the contest.

The Flames had the jump right out of the gates and were the first to light the lamp.

Just over five-minutes into the game, off the draw in the Jets’ end, Lipinski drew the puck back to Stromgren, who swiftly slid into the slot and wired home a quick wrist shot glove-side on Jets’ netminder, Thomas Milic, to give the Flames the early lead.

However, Calgary got into penalty trouble midway through the frame, and Winnipeg would capitalize. With only four seconds remaining on a Jets’ 5-on-3, Elias Salomonsson fired a shot through a maze of bodies and past Murphy to tie the game.

Murphy turned aside 16 shots for the Flames in the first period to keep the score even after 20 minutes.

The Flames were effective in the faceoff dot all game, and another successful offensive-zone draw in the second period led to the go-ahead goal for Calgary.

Off the draw, Honzek worked the puck back to Yan Kuznetsov at the blue line, who waited for a lane to open, set up for the shot and hammered it on net. The rebound popped out to the side, right onto the stick of Lipinski who slipped it past Milic. 2-1 Flames.

The lead wouldn’t last long, however.

With the Jets on a powerplay, Nikita Chibrikov scooped up the loose puck behind the Flames’ net, angled his way out front, picked his spot and ripped it home.

Late in the frame, Calgary got a 5-on-3 chance of their own and made good on it.

With extra space to operate, the Flames completed a tremendous tic-tac-toe passing play, zig-zagging the puck through coverage. Matt Coronato found Rory Kerins, who spotted Klapka cross-seam, feeding a perfect pass to the big man, who one-timed home his second goal of the tournament.

Calgary played a solid shutdown period in the final frame, as Kykkanen held the fort in net.

With the clock ticking down, Stromgren sent a shot down the ice and into the empty net to seal it for the Flames.

The Flames wrap up the tournament with a record of 2-1-0 in three games.