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Flames take weekend wins to sit on top of playoff table

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Guildford Flames logo Tuomas Santavuori banged home a loose goal line puck that had snuck through James Hadfield early in the 3rd period, and that proved to be the difference as the Flames held on to collect a 3-2 Group A playoff win over visiting Sheffield Steeldogs. In Sunday’s follow up, a pair of 2nd period goals to gain a lead, and a quick reply when the Phantoms had cut their deficit late in the game were part of the formula for the Flames retention of the Playoff group A top spot with a 3-1 win at Peterborough.

Flames forward Andrew Hemmings who had a pair of goals, one in each game, and an assist across the weekend.  Photo by John Uwins.

Against the Yorkshire side, Andrew Hemmings opened the Flames account in the 3rd minute. Stanislav Lascek levelled at 12:44 but a late period Marek Maslonka marker had the home team ahead 2-1 to start the middle frame. Just 55 seconds into the 2nd, Arnoldas Bosas made it a pair each, and the knotted tally remained through that period and into the next. A little over 3 minutes into the 3rd, Santavuori’s winner completed the evening count.

At Peterborough, the 1st 20 minutes were highlighted by the netminders each doing their part to keep a scoreless draw on the board. The Flames powerplay got things started at 25:10 thanks to a Danny Meyers conversion. The visitors doubled their lead less than 2 minutes later with a Hemmings strike. The Flames held the multi goal difference through most of the 3rd, but a Phantoms marker a little over 5 minutes from time off the stick of Wehebe Darge cut their deficit in half. However, an immediate reply by Andy McKinney guaranteed a Flames win and 6 points from 3 games halfway through the Playoff round.

“We don’t think the win over Sheffield will ever be remembered as our best performance,” admitted Head Coach Paul Dixon. “It was not a good showing by the club, but we did figure out a way to get a win, and I guess at this time of year that is the most important thing. Having said that, we have to be much better than that, and, indeed, we were much better on Sunday in Peterborough where they have lost very few games all season. All around the team it was exactly the response we needed, and it converted to a win that put us in a great spot at the halfway point in the round schedule. We don’t have time to pat ourselves on the back though with a huge game on Wednesday night at home to Telford and the closing weekend to follow.”

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