That was a nutty game, but it was fun. It was a weird game. Obviously it was my first time experiencing the rivalry. Early on, it had that rivalry, sort of playoff feel but it was a really cool game. We were playing really well and when the score starting getting out of hand, it was a little less fight they had. - Kenny Agostino
PENTICTON, BC -- One doesn’t need to remind Kenny Agostino that Saturday’s opponent at the Young Stars Classic is none other than the Edmonton Oilers.
He’s already been exposed to the ‘Battle of Alberta’.
Agostino is the lone Calgary Flames prospect in Penticton that already has one such battle under his belt.
“I remember it,” the 22-year-old recalled of the 8-1 drubbing on March 22nd on Hockey Night in Canada. “That was a nutty game, but it was fun. It was a weird game. Obviously it was my first time experiencing the rivalry. Early on, it had that rivalry, sort of playoff feel but it was a really cool game. We were playing really well and when the score starting getting out of hand, it was a little less fight they had.
“(Matt) Stajan had that penalty shot goal that was really special. Weird game, too, with the jersey thrown and it was the water bottle game, too. It was just a crazy game.”
While he doesn’t expect Saturday’s tilt at South Okanagan Events Centre to be quite as eventful, Agostino is excited nonetheless.
“It’s an awesome rivalry and even in the Young Stars tourney it will be at a high level,” he said. “It’s a rivalry. Whenever you get a chance to beat a rival is a special feeling. The boys are pumped about this one.”
While Agostino has a game under his belt, it’ll be the first time Austin Carroll has the opportunity to participate. Carroll, who grew up as a Flames fan in Calgary, is excited.
“It’s huge coming from Calgary,” he said. “I mean, I’ve been a Calgary fan all my life. It’ll be good against Edmonton. You just grew up knowing that you’ve got to hate Edmonton. It’ll be a good battle.
“You ask anyone and they know that rivalry.”
Sam Bennett certainly does.
Though the Flames top pick (No. 4) in the 2014 NHL Draft comes by way of Kingston, the 18-year-old knows the significance of a Flames-Oilers tilt.
“Everyone knows about the huge rivalry here," he said. "I’m just really excited. It’s definitely going to be a tough game tonight. I expect it to be really physical, really chippy and that’s the kind of game I love.”
UP TO STRIDE
Bennett also expects a quicker start from his Flames.
Calgary managed just five shots in the opening period against the Winnipeg Jets on Friday, but rallied with four straight goals to earn a 6-4 victory and a 1-0 record in the tournament.
“Playing in the summer, you can never get the same feel as a real game,” Bennett said. “The first period was a little slow and it was a little tough. The ice is a little fast and you have to get used to it. After that, I think we settled in pretty well.
“Getting that under our belt was good. There are going to be no excuses for a slow start tonight.”
“I think most guys would say yesterday the first period was a little rough,” he said. “It’s hard to mimic game-like speed in the summer. After the first period, me and the team as a whole felt more comfortable and we’re ready to go today.”
“I’m pretty excited about that, throwing the Flaming ‘C’ on. It’s an honour. It’s what I’ve trained for all summer. I’m excited and I just can’t wait for it.”
-Mason McDonald on making his first start in a Flames jersey
The puck drops at 8:30 PM MT. The Sport Chek stream can be viewed on CalgaryFlames.com, the Calgary Flames app, and the Calgary Flames YouTube channel.