Walser, Szuper lead Flames to stunning OT victory.
By Aaron McCracken
Derrick Walser tied the game with 27 seconds remaining and then scored the winner at 7:05 of overtime as the Saint John Flames capped a thrilling 5-4 comeback victory over the Quebec Citadelles. Levente Szuper was perfect in a relief effort for the Flames, making 16 saves and stopping Mike Ribeiro's overtime penalty shot.
The Flames took the early lead in the game when Steve Begin scored his sixth of the playoffs on the power play twelve minutes into the first. Begin redirected a Micki Dupont pass and beat Mathieu Garon, who was making his 8th consecutive start. The Flames went up 2-0 late in the period when Marty Murray made some brilliant moves behind the Quebec net and banked a pass off Garon for a short-handed goal. The Flames dominated the 1st period, and did not allow a Quebec shot on goal during the final 14 minutes.
Things changed quickly however during the 2nd period. With Rick Mrozik pinching in, Eric Landry grabbed a loose puck, skated the length of the ice, and fired it by Martin Brochu to put Quebec on the board. Six minutes later, Quebec tied the game when Miloslav Guren slapped a point shot though traffic on the power play. Thirty seconds later, Quebec went up 3-2 when Jon Delisle stole the puck from Steve Montador and beat Brochu. And then less than a minute later, Arron Asham scored a weak goal that put the Citadelles up 4-2 and ended Brochu's evening.
Levente Szuper came on in relief and the Flames looked like a different team. Saint John controlled the pace of the 3rd period and finally were able to beat Garon on a floating wrist shot from Sergei Varlamov. Quebec protected their lead well until Mathieu Garon tried to clear a dump-in with 34 seconds remaining. The Quebec goaltender shot it out of play and received a delay-of-game call, setting up a 6-on-4 faceoff deep in the Citadelle zone. Although Marty Murray lost the draw, the puck came out to Derrick Walser, who fired it through a crowd and beat Garon to tie the game.
Walser's overtime winner came on a similar play, after Quebec's Eric Bertrand took a high-sticking penalty seven minutes into the extra frame. Marty Murray found Walser wide open on the right-point, and the young defenseman blasted a shot past Garon, giving the Flames a 3-1 series lead.
News and Notes
Aaron's Three Stars
1. Derrick Walser
Lines and Roster update
Murray – Varlamov – Botterill
Tkaczuk – Begin -- Clark
Betts – Roche – Fata
Royer - Doull
Walser – Martin
Montador – Scoville
Mrozik – Dupont
Scratches: Miika Elomo (broken nose, one week), Chris St. Croix (healthy), Jason Morgan (facial laceration, day to day) Bobby Russell (healthy), Jeff Dewar (healthy), Dany Sabourin (healthy).