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Ortio continues bid for crease time with Calgary

by Aaron Vickers / Calgary Flames

I think it was a pretty good game but I can’t be pleased. I have to keep moving forward.Joni Ortio

GLENDALE, AZ -- Two games, two wins, one goal.

Thanks in part to a 27-save effort in a 4-1 win against the Arizona Coyotes, the recently recalled Joni Ortio has wasted little time placing his bid on the crease of the Calgary Flames.

“I think it was a pretty good game but I can’t be pleased,” Ortio said. “I have to keep moving forward.”

The win, his second in as many starts, followed a 36-save shutout -- the first of his NHL career -- in Saturday’s 1-0 win over the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena and has the 23-year-old pressing onward.

Ortio was recalled from the Adirondack Flames of the AHL when goaltender Karri Ramo sustained an upper-body injury against the Detroit Red Wings on Jan. 7.

He’s shown but one blemish since, coming by way of a Mikkel Boedker wrist shot from the slot at 12:36 of the second period to tie Thursday’s game 1-1.

“He gave us another great game,” Calgary coach Bob Hartley said. “In control, battled. Had many saves where he had to battle through traffic. He had great focus. He was able to find pucks. At 1-1 and even 1-0 he gave us a few good saves and allowed us to have a great third period.”

The Flames broke open a tied game after two periods with three scattered over the final 20 minutes.

David Jones ended up netting the winner, swatting in a rebound off TJ Brodie’s original shot 4:51 into the final frame to put Calgary ahead for good and give Ortio his sixth NHL win in 10 career appearances.

“He’s been great,” Jones said. “He’s been so solid for us and made some big stops for us. Hopefully he can continue to play that well. It’s pretty impressive coming from the minors and playing that well.”

But Ortio, an AHL All-Star who has a 17-8-1 record with a 2.52 goals against average and .916 save percentage in Adirondack, isn’t about to lay sole claim to the pair of performances.

He admits he’s had help along the way.

“I think we did a good job staying in the shooting lanes,” Ortio said. “They create a lot of offence from their D on point shots. They didn’t get a lot of shots through so they weren’t able to use that traffic in front. Apart for a couple of chances, we kept them on the outside.”

There wasn’t anybody to get in the way of his first save against the Coyotes, though. Just him.

Just 13 seconds into the contest, Arizona forward Sam Gagner found himself behind Calgary’s defence and had Ortio at his mercy but, in a last ditch effort, the sprawled goaltender threw out his glove to deny Gagner and keep the game scoreless.

It didn’t go unnoticed.

“That’s a huge one,” Hartley said. “That puck was definitely going in. He found a way to get the glove out. Those saves, sometimes, as much as you want a great start for a road game sometimes it doesn’t go your way. Tonight I thought we were just skating okay in the first period and Ortio kept us in the game.”

It was a boost, Ortio admitted.

“For sure,” he started. “I’m thinking if that goes in it’s a different hockey game. Stopping that early on really gave me confidence too.”

His play of late should, too.

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