Hockey is back! With hockey comes my family tradition of pizza and beer and recaps.
Of course, since this is a Young Stars Tournament game, not an actual Canucks game, the box score and highlights are not as important as how the prospects looked and what it tells us leading into main camp next weekend.
But just in case you need a quick re-cap: The Canucks actually led 7-0 before the Jets got on the board with just over a minute to go in the second period. The game ended 8-2 for the good guys.
Guadette opened the scoring with a nice tip just over a minute into the game.
Michael DiPietro was steady in goal, especially during the somewhat chaotic first period. He stopped what he could see, including a short handed breakaway. Over the course of the game the goalie had some help from the crossbar (three times), and defenceman Garrett McFadden who kicked a shot out of the crease and went down like an old school net minder stacking the pads near the end of the first period, which ended 1-0 for the Canucks.
In the second period the Canucks come out gunning, when Gadjovich, Palmu, and Dahlen each found the back of the net. That was so much fun that Palmu did it again, then Pettersson wired a wicked wrister under a defender’s stick and over the goalies shoulder. That was enough for Winnipeg Goalie Berdin who left the game a couple of minutes earlier than planned. Even though he got chased, Berdin faced a lot of high quality shots and made plenty of good saves. Showing no mercy to the new Jets Goalie Mcgovern, Gadjovich soon got his second of the night, making it 7-0 with one second before the halfway mark of the game.
Late in the second period, the Jets finally got on the board. It’s unfortunate that the goal came mostly because Chatfield lost a battle in the corner and the puck popped out into the slot. Chatfield was quite good for most of the game playing on a strong pairing with Olli Juolevi. They both made good plays, broke up a lot of rushes, and put some pucks on net.
The third period featured another goal by Pettersson, the Jets got a power play goal, and Penticton native Jagger Dirk wisely declined to fight Ratelle despite some jawboning back and forth.
I noticed Juolevi making a lot of simple safe plays, almost like he was used to playing at full speed against men. Based on what I saw this evening it seems like he could use some more development (perhaps in Utica) to get to a more dominant level, but to my inexpert eye he could hold his own in the NHL at any time from now.
Come to think of it, none of the Canucks really looked like they were dominant enough to force their way onto the NHL roster just yet, but the ones who looked surprisingly good and most ready were Gaudette, Gadjovich, and Palmu. That could even make a complete fourth line. Pettersson also played very well, and so did this line with Dahlen and usually Lind (or sometimes Palmu in the third period).
I also liked Zach MacEwen who looked big and strong and fully engaged, throwing the hit of the game and generaly being, as coach Green likes to say “Hard to play against.”
One of my few disappointments from this game is that Nando Eggenberger, Tanner MacMaster, and Zack MacEwen were on three different lines. If they’d been on the same line we could call it the “Egg Macmuffin” line.
That was made up for by seeing Petrus Palmu pay tribute to the Vancouver Expo by wearing number 86, and Lucas Jasek honouring the Montreal Expo with number 67.
Some nice background was given by DiPietro during the first intermission where he talked about the art on his goalie Mask. While the artist managed to keep the over all look simple from a distance there is lots of content, including a Humbolt Bronco nod which was a nice touch, especially since his teammate Reid Gardiner was born in Humbolt.
So far so good for the opening of the pre-pre-season. It will be interesting to watch the Young Stars when they play Winnipeg again on Sunday.