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Young Stars Recap: Days 1 & 2

A few notes from Friday and Saturday's action

Suck it, Connor!
Suck it, Connor!

Friday sucked, and I mean really sucked!  Getting up at 4 in the morning to drive a million miles just to watch the Canucks get pummeled by the McDavid led Oilers... On top of that, the crowd here in Penticton is very heavily populated with Oiler fans, making this enemy territory for the host Canucks.  It's not all doom and gloom though, this is a great event in a beautiful city with lots of things to see and do!


Flames 3, Jets 1

The first game of the tournament featured the Winnipeg Jets led by Nick Ehlers and the Calgary Flames starring 1819 year old Sam Bennett.

On paper, the Jets have a ton of talent in Penticton and should have walked all over the Flames prospects.  In practice. the Flames seemed to be more committed to playing a team game than the Jets.  At times it looked like the Jets weren't interested in playing because the entire team disappeared for long stretches.  The Flames prevailed 3-1, although it could easily have been a 5 or 6 goal difference.

Strong Performances

Brendan Lemieux, F (WPG):  Claude's son was, well the son of Claude.  He was an Uber-pest all game!  He lined up big hits, antagonized the opposition by being a pest and potting Winnipeg's lone goal.

Eric Comrie, G (WPG):   Playing the second half of the game, Comrie came in and shut the door.  He was calm, cool and collected in the crease.

Sam Bennett, C (CAL):  The 19 year old version of Sam Bennett is a bit more surly!  He was more physically engaged and showcased why he was a top pick in the 2014 draft.

Tough Outings

Connor Helleybuyck, G (WPG):  Man was he shaky to start this game! Giving up a weak goal early on.  Seems like he goes out of his way to make plays with his blocker instead of using his trapper.

Oliver Kylington, D (CAL): There's a reason the Swede fell to the tail end of the second round!  He is very, very undersized, and definitely needs to pack on 20 or 30 more pounds to reach NHL size.  Kylington left the game with what's being called a minor injury after being obliterated on the end boards in the first period.

Oilers 8, Canucks 2

The score tells a story, and it isn't pretty... But there's a silver lining here: we played the style of game that we wanted to.  Yeah it didn't work out so well for us, but the Oiler team is a bit more veteran laden than ours... There's something to be said for having more experienced players in your line-up.

Strong Performances

Eetu Laurikainen, G (EDM):  This game could have been a 8-5 final if it weren't for the Finn holding the fort for the Oilers.

Jake Virtanen, W (VAN): As per Linden:  Jake played a 'spicy' game.  The Abby Kid was a wrecking ball (insert Miley Cyrus reference here).  If there was a player to be hit, big V was the man to deliver it... Darnell Nurse's jaw flapping too much?  Virtanen was ready to close it for him.

Connor McDavid, C (EDM):  Maybe not his best game ever, but he still showed glimpses of why people consider him the second coming of Gretzky.  His speed and puck control was impressive.

Ben Hutton, D (VAN):  Hutton was incredibly steady anchoring an overmatched defense.  How he managed to maintain an even +/- in that game is a testament to his performance.

Brendan Gaunce, F (VAN):  Remember him?  He was the lone offensive bright spot for the Canucks.  His skating looked improved from last year, and his ability to drive the play in the offensive zone was much needed!

Tough Outings

Clay Witt, G (VAN):  The UDFA goalie had a rough go.  He was often out of position and found himself scrambling to get back to make secondary saves.  Some of this comes back on the defense (or lack thereof).  Coach Green had gone out in the media and said that Witt would play the full game... What kind of impact does leaving Witt out to dry have on his next appearance?

Carl Neill, D (VAN):  Neill was drafted this year in the 5th round and played like an 18 year old 5th round pick... Not going to go any further than that.

Anton Cederholm, D (VAN):  Paired with Neill as the veteran presence on the third line, Cederholm did nothing to stabilize the tandem.


Edmonton 6, Calgary 3
This Oilers team can really put the puck in the net... They've scored 14 goals in 2 games already, that's terrifying!  Honestly, this game played much tighter than the final score.  The McDavid-less Oilers decided to take the first period off and let the Flames claim a 2-0 lead after the first period.

Strong Performances

Leon Draisaitl, C (EDM):  Playing on the top line, the big German showed us what made him a top pick in the 2014 draft by scoring a beautiful 5-hole goal on Flames starter Mason MacDonald on a penalty shot.

Bryce Van Brarant, W (CAL):  There's really nothing splashy, or fancy about this Flames forward but every time he's on the ice he has a nice shift.  He's driven the puck into the offensive zone with speed and uses his size effectively.

Joey LaLeggia, D (EDM): The undersized rearguard was silky smooth with the puck, frequenty leading the offensive rush.  He has been a great puck mover in both games so far.

Tough Outings

Darnell Nurse, D (EDM):  Captain Nurse is a big dude with great potential, but Darnell needs to learn to keep his composure if he wants to be an impact player at the NHL.  He spent too much time strolling to the penalty box and not enough time leading his team.  He did win a fight handily in the game, but there's no reason to brag, he beat an 18 year old defenseman who gave up 30 pounds and 5 inches...

Sam Bennett, C (CAL):  He was in the line-up, but he wasn't on the ice very much.  He was much more visible in game one.  This leads me to wonder if he got hurt in this game.

It's almost time to drop the puck for Canucks/Jets!  Go Coconuts Go!