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Flames split weekend in final outings ahead of 6 game playoff round

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Guildford Flames logo Sam Waller had his first multi point night with the Flames thanks to a couple of assists, and Spectrum’s men scored a pair of goals in each of the 2nd and 3rd periods to collect a 5-2 home ice win over the visiting Sheffield Steeldogs.

Michal Satek against Sheffield on Saturday night.  The Slovak skater had a goal and an assist in the win to go with 3 goals and an assist on Sunday. Photo by Olly Birth.Michal Satek had a 3 goal and 4 point night, and the Flames stormed back from a 5–2 deficit to take a late lead, but a pair of Peterborough Phantoms goals inside the final 6 minutes lifted them to a 7-6 win over the visiting Surrey side. The final table puts the Flames against Telford Tigers, Peterborough Phantoms and Sheffield Steeldogs in the 6 game playoff group round starting Wednesday night (Mar 22nd) at Telford.

In the weekend opener, Arnoldas Bosas opened the evening’s scoring at 3:53 to put Sheffield in an early lead, the only one they would hold, but Tuomas Santavuori tied it 64 seconds later and the deadlock carried over into the middle frame. The scoring pause finally ended inside the final 5 minutes of the 2nd when a Waller shot from the blue line, re-direct credited to Jared Lane, gave the home team the lead. 42 seconds from period close they extended the difference to a couple when Andy McKinney fed a perfect cross crease pass to Michal Satek who tapped it in for a 3-1 margin at the break. Satek and McKinney reversed the partnership at 49:17 when McKinney bagged the club’s 4th of the night. A few minutes later, while shorthanded, Marek Maslonka intercepted a Steeldogs pass near his team’s blueline before racing in on a breakaway to post a 5-1 advantage. Cole Shudra got one back for the Steeldogs late, but it served as a cosmetic adjustment with no impact on the ultimate result.

In the heart-breaking defeat, Satek scored shorthanded less than 5 minutes in to get the Flames off to a 1-0 start but a 3 goal reply in the period had the Phantoms up a pair after 20 minutes. Tom Norton converted the powerplay just seconds after Satek’s lead off strike. Darius Pliskauskas in the 13th minute and James Ferrara before the end of the frame opened the 3-1 difference. Another Satek goal cut the deficit to a single early in the 2nd, but a pair of quick ones less than a minute apart by Pliskauskas and Ferrara opened a 5-2 gap just beyond the midway mark. The Flames managed the deficit by adding a Santavuori goal before the end of the 2nd to be just 2 goals adrift after a couple of periods. Kari Sihvonen pulled the Flames within a single at 48:09 and Satek completed his hat trick at 49:41 to level it at 5 each. Marek Maslonka tipped in a Danny Meyers shot at 11:31 to put the Flames in front, but a Greg Pick answer a few minutes later had the teams sharing 12 goals evenly at 6 each. A late powerplay for the Phantoms proved costly for the Flames who, despite the furious comeback effort, fell short on the count of Ales Padelek’s extra man winner.

“Sheffield has given us some really good games this season, but tonight (Saturday) we controlled the game very well,” said Paul Dixon, “and in the end we got the right result. Sunday was very disappointing to say the least. We had enough opportunities and enough of the play to win the hockey game under any circumstances, but when you get back into it, and even take a lead after being so far out of it, losing has a bit of extra sting. We are going to have to put it behind us and look ahead now to opening the playoffs on Wednesday night with the challenge of the season when we visit the league champion Telford Tigers and try to get onto the playoff table quickly to get us started in the 6 game group round. ”

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