After a difficult start to the season, the Guildford Flames have started to show signs of recovery to the delight of head coach Paul Dixon. And he has netminder Eamon McAdam to thank.
The Flames, who started gameweek seven in the Elite League’s basement positions, secured back-to-back wins over the Belfast Giants and Fife Flyers to vault themselves back into the playoff picture.
“It’s a massive home win for us,” Dixon said after his side put Fife to the sword in Surrey. “We needed that, our fans needed that, and I’m just glad that we got those two points at home tonight. If I recap the game, I thought we started the first period really well. We dropped off in the second period a little bit, but [the fact we held firm] shows the progress we have made in the last couple of weeks.”
Eamon McAdam headlines team of the week:
With that in mind, Luke James presents our seventh Elite League team of the week of the season.
Netminder: Eamon McAdam, Guildford Flames
McAdam stood on his head versus the Giants, helping the Flames squeeze out the Giants to win 4-3 on their travels to the SSE Arena.
The American made a number of clutch saves in Belfast and finished his shift with a balmy .925 save percentage in the face of the Elite League’s hottest attack.
McAdam followed up his 37-save performance versus the Giants with a 31-save effort in a 5-2 win versus Fife, making him the standalone team of the week candidate between the pipes.
Defenceman: Bradley Lalonde, Guildford Flames
While Bradley Lalonde is yet to hit the heights of last season, he remains a crucial member of Dixon’s blueline in Guildford.
The Canadian found the net for the first time this term against Fife, forcing Shane Owen into action with all six of his shot attempts through 21:20 time on ice.
He was also a standout performer against the Giants, playing in all situations versus the reigning triple crown champions.
Lalonde’s performances are made all the more impressive by the fact he only played 12:19 in his previous appearance, marking an important return to form for the 26-year-old.
Forward: Quinn Preston, Belfast Giants
Quinn Preston is one of the most technically gifted forwards in the Elite League and his fast start with the Giants should surprise no one.
The American posted five points last weekend, scoring once in Belfast’s loss to Guildford before notching a brace and registering two assists in a 5-1 win over the Manchester Storm.
However, it is reductive to measure Preston’s effectiveness solely against the box-score.
The 26-year-old is a dominant force in the face-off circle, running up 16-3 and 16-8 scores when sent out with top-six opposition.
Forward: Tyler Busch, Cardiff Devils
The Glasgow Clan’s woes continued on Sunday [5 November], with the Cardiff Devils skating to a superb 7-0 win at the Braehead Arena.
Tyler Busch was a constant bright spark for the visitors, scoring a hattrick and tallying a primary assist through just 14:07 time on ice.
Despite losing the majority of his face-off draws, the 27-year-old was a solid defensive presence for Cardiff and continues to make hay from the middle-six.
Forward: Ian McNulty, Coventry Blaze
The Coventry Blaze have suffered this season, albeit with three players popping off offensively.
Danny Cristo leads the Elite League in points. Kobe Roth leads the Elite League in goals. Ian McNulty, who features in our team of the week, isn’t far behind them.
The Canadian enjoyed a four-point performance in a 5-2 road win over the Dundee Stars, tallying a hattrick of assists and one buzzer sounder from Danny Stewart’s top line.
McNulty, who boasts 125 points (62 goals, 63 assists) in 143 Elite League appearances, remains a prime playmaking force in his age-30 season.
Forward: Spencer Naas, Dundee Stars
Spencer Naas is starting to find his feet in the Elite League, with points in each of his last four appearances.
The American was at his spiciest best last weekend, potting four points (one goal, three assists) across two games against the Blaze.
Naas, a left winger by nature, also enjoyed a weekend to remember in the face-off circle, winning five of the seven draws he was forced to take in place of his ejected centreman.
Would you have selected Eamon McAdam of the Guildford Flames? Join the conversation in the comments. Eamon McAdam Eamon McAdam