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'Tough guys' find offensive game at Kraft Hockeyville

by Staff Writer / Arizona Coyotes

SYLVAN LAKE, Alberta -- The enforcers left an impact on 2014 Kraft Hockeyville on Wednesday.

But instead of dropping the gloves, the likes of Brian McGrattan and B.J. Crombeen were using their hands to produce offense. Matt Kassian and Deryk Engelland joined McGrattan and Crombeen on the list of unlikely scorers in the Calgary Flames' 4-3 overtime win against the Arizona Coyotes at Sylvan Lake Multiplex.

"I think everyone that plays in the roles that the four of us do, work a lot to be able to contribute in other ways," Crombeen said. "It's nice to be able to chip in on the offense, but I think all of us know what our main role is and obviously just trying to play hard and do the simple things and get the pucks to the net."

Kassian opened the scoring near the midway point of the first, when he corralled a rebound from Chris Summers and beat Flames goalie Joni Ortio.

After Joe Vitale doubled that lead, Engelland pulled the Flames within one with 54.2 seconds remaining in the opening period with a seeing-eye shot from the point that found its way past Coyotes goaltender Mike McKenna.

McGrattan tied the game 1:59 into the second period after converting a cross-crease tap-in from Mikael Granlund.

"[Granlund] is probably one of our most skilled players in our whole organization," McGrattan said. "He can make a lot of plays with the puck. Once I saw him with the puck, I just went to the post and put my stick on the ice. The pass came right to me."

Crombeen restored Arizona's lead 67 seconds later after a shot from Summers skipped off the 6-foot-2, 209-pound forward and behind Ortio.

"Obviously a great play by the D-man," Crombeen said. "The puck was kind of battling in the corner and got it behind. I don't know who got it to the D-man, but I just tried to get position and get to the net. It went off my stick, off my shin pad and in. I'm just trying to go hard to the net and obviously a great play by the D-man there."

In all, the four contributed to more than half the goals scored in the game. Collectively, Crombeen, McGrattan, Engelland and Kassian have combined for 58 goals in 1,015 games. They've collected 222 fighting majors over the same span.

"Pretty wild, eh?" McGrattan said. "They probably thought it was going to go the other way."

Kraft Hockeyville wasn't necessarily a place to showcase what else they can do with their hands. But McGrattan found a way to entertain the crowded rink in the resort community of roughly 13,000.

"It's big for the people in the town here. They won it," said McGrattan, playing in his second Kraft Hockeyville event after skating in the inaugural game in Salmon River, Nova Scotia as a member of the Ottawa Senators in 2006. "There's a lot of excitement around the game and around the day. You get to see all the fans and all the kids. It was a pretty enjoyable morning. A lot of those kids don't get to see NHL players being from a small town. I don't know how many games they get to. Anything we can do to make their day.

"No matter where you came from, you started in either a small town or a small rink. It means a lot to come back and see all the fans come out and how passionate and excited they were to have a game here. I think it was a lot of fun for everyone and I think everyone enjoyed it."

Author: Aaron Vickers | Correspondent

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