Bombed Published on 10/8/2012 2:08:00 PM
After two weekends of hockey on the road, the Valencia Flyers returned to Ice Station Valencia last Friday night to open their 2012-2013 home slate, with a visit from the Long Beach Bombers.
Just one week prior, the Flyers learned the hard way that these aren’t the same Bombers they’re used to seeing over the last few years. It may be early in the season but in their second year under head coach Chris White, the Bombers already look like contenders for the Pacific Division title.
In that game, played on September 30 in Lakewood, the host Bombers took it to the Flyers for the first time in a while, controlling all aspects of the game in a 10-4 shellacking.
After losing in a shootout the next night in Ontario, the Flyers returned home last Friday with revenge on their minds.
Despite a much better start to the game for the home team, the Bombers were still able to get on the board first, as Flyer-killer Johnny Linehan notched his first of the season.
The fourth-year forward was able to hold the puck in himself, while bouncing off of a hit, then sent the puck in low and got it back in the slot, where he beat Stephen Palmer with a shot along the ice.
The Flyers responded late in the period while on the power play, as veteran defenseman Alex Descheneaux threw a shot toward the net that was re-directed home by Jacob Larsson.
After controlling play to start the second period, the Flyers took the lead 8:13 in, as again, it was a solid play by Deschneaux sparking the goal.
With Long Beach looking to get the puck deep and make a line change, Descheneaux made a kick save on a clearing attempt in the neutral zone and quickly got the puck ahead to Hunter Jensen.
Jensen cut toward the middle of the ice and gave the puck to Eddie Keshishian on the wing. After getting his first attempt turned away, Keshishian kept working and put home the rebound, for his second goal of the season.
With the 2-1 lead, the Flyers continued to swarm in the Long Beach end but Sykora made a handful of big saves to keep his team in the game.
With 7:12 left before the buzzer, the Flyers made their first of two key mistakes late in the period, both of which led directly to backbreaking goals for the Bombers.
JT Banard capitalized of off a defensive turnover deep inside the Flyers zone, as he re-directed a cross-crease pass from Tyler Forest home, to knot the game at two.
With the period winding down and the Flyers still carrying play, the defense got caught pinching and a long stretch pass sent Jakub Sramek in all-alone against Palmer, who he beat with a beautiful move, to give his team the 3-2 lead.
Through 40 minutes of play the Flyers had the majority of the puck possession, shots and overall better scoring chances but the Bombers had hit them where it counted.
Just over halfway through the third period, Banard’s second of the game, again off of a Flyers turnover, made it 4-2 Long Beach and seemed to put the game on ice.
Austin Ehrlich made a great individual effort to pull Valencia within one late in regulation but it wasn’t enough, as for the second consecutive Friday, the Bombers skated off with a victory.
Sykora was fantastic for Long Beach, picking up his third win in as many games. The big Czech seemed to have a calming influence on the rest of the team. In all, he turned away 32 of 35 Flyers’ shots, including 10 scoring chances.
Palmer played well at the other end but it wasn’t good enough to get the win, as he stopped 20 of the 24 shots he faced and lost his third consecutive game, after starting the year with three straight wins.
Head coach Jocelyn Langlois was happy with the better effort his team exerted and the way in which they responded to the beat down the week before but was not so happy about the turnovers and untimely goals his team allowed.
His Flyers will look to get back on track this Saturday, when they welcome in the San Diego Gulls for a 7:15 PM faceoff at Ice Station Valencia.
Just a reminder, Friday’s game against Long Beach has been rescheduled to Sunday October 14th @5:15 PM. All tickets for this Sunday matinee will be $5.