The Canucks wrapped up their final matchup of the 2023 Young Stars Classic in Penticton with a win against the Oilers. Vancouver’s experienced roster made a difference in tight moments, especially in the third period against Edmonton.
Canucks Head Coach Jeremy Colliton said the weekend was a success and a win was a good way to cap it off.
“It was a lot of good learning experiences for our group. Hopefully this was a good way to get going and they can ride the momentum wherever they’re going next.”
“I think it brings the best out of the young players because they’re getting exposed to that competition. If you’re going to practice or playing just one team, I’m not sure you get the same attention to the details as you do when you’re in a tournament,” Colliton said.
Danila Klimovich took the Canucks’ first shot attempt of the game and connected to get Vancouver on the scoreboard, Karel Plasek notching the assist.
Canucks’ second goal came from the power play, as Hirose attacked the net and capitalized just above the slot, with the assist by Max Sasson. It was Hirose’s first goal of the tournament, but his fifth point which was the tournament high. He said the first game was the toughest of the weekend, getting back into the swing of things, but by the third game his legs were feeling good.
“I was excited to play in the tournament to get the competitive juices going again. It’s good to play against other people in a real situational hockey game and get a few bumps here and there,” Hirose added.
The Canucks were quiet on the scoreboard in the second period, but the Oilers scored two quick goals from forwards Carl Berglund and Carter Savoie, tying the game 2-2. The Oilers’ forecheck was pressuring the Canucks through the second which slowed them down, before they were able to turn their play around in the final frame.
“We made an adjustment as a group to try to get the puck behind them and play behind them and their D. I think our forwards did a great job of that,” he said.
Canucks made a substitution in net to start the third, Jonathan Lemieux taking over for Nikita Tolopilo. Lemiux stopped all seven shots he faced to help Vancouver secure the win.
Vancouver’s more experienced players proved to be difference makers throughout the tournament and in the third period against the Oilers. Cole McWard scored the go-ahead goal to give Vancouver a 3-2 lead, assisted by Aatu Raty. Aidan McDonough scored on the power play, assisted by McWard, and Raty connected on an empty-net goal, assisted by Marc Gatcomb.
“A couple big moments, a heck of a play by Raty to McWard there was a big goal for us. Even the empty netter, Gatcomb makes an excellent play, beats two guys in the battle and sets up Raty for the empty netter. Those are moments that if you’re going to win you learn how to come through. It was nice to see,” Colliton said.