Vancouver Canucks thump Edmonton Oilers 5-2 to close out 2023 Young Stars Classic

Photo credit:X/Canucks
David Quadrelli
9 months ago
The Vancouver Canucks were in action against the Edmonton Oilers’ young guns to close out this year’s Young Stars Classic from Penticton, BC, and we’re here to recap it for you!

Starting lineup

Nikita Tolopilo picked up his second start of this year’s tournament after a strong showing in game one. Tolopilo wasn’t tested much, but allowed just one goal in the Canucks’ 7-1 victory over the Calgary Flames to open the tournament. He looked good, but it was hard to get a gauge based on how few shots he faced. This game, as you’ll soon find out, was quite different than Friday night’s contest.

First Period

The game started with a strong shift from Dmitri Zlodeyev, who continues to try to make a name for himself ahead of training camp where he will work to earn a spot on the Abbotsford Canucks’ roster.
Tolopilo was busy early in this one, and that was a perfect opportunity to get a look at some of the things Ian Clark sees in him. He’s big, mobile, and his post play is solid. His “length” is on full display when you watch how he moves while dropped down to the ice — keeping his pads flush to the ice the entire time while tracking the puck with ease.
Just a hair over five minutes into this one, Karel Plasek made a smart play where he left the puck for Danila Klimovich to find at the side of the Edmonton goal. Because he kept his feet moving, Plasek took the Oilers’ goaltender with him, leaving the net wide open for Klimovich to pot home his first of the tournament.
Vilmer Alriksson took the first penalty of the game after putting the hold on an Oilers defenceman while forechecking, but the Oilers’ power play struggled to get much set up. THE CANUCKS KILLED OFF A PENALTY!
The Canucks got their first power play of the game after Aidan McDonough was hauled down after pulling off a toe drag into a beautiful backhand pass into the middle that Marc Gatcomb couldn’t bury.
McDonough has been among the Canucks’ best players at this tournament, and given his age and experience, that’s exactly what should be expected of him. Full marks to McDonough for his play, and it will be interesting how he fares at training camp later this week.
On the ensuing power play, Akito Hirose scored his first goal and tournament-leading fifth point.
Speaking of guys we’re interested to see at training camp this week…
The offence ended there as the Canucks managed to convert on two of their five shots. At the other end, Tolopilo faced ten shots after 20 minutes. We’re pretty sure it took 50 minutes for the Flames to take ten shots at Tolopilo on Friday night, so this was quickly shaping up to be his biggest workload in some time.

Second Period

The Canucks found themselves back on the man advantage fairly early into the second period, and poured on the pressure. Danila Klimovich took the Canucks’ best chance of the power play after Josh Bloom set him up with a cross crease pass. Unfortunately, the pass hit an Oilers stick on its way to Kilmovich, which forced the third-year AHLer to settle the puck before letting go of his shot.
Aatu Räty followed that up with a couple of quality chances after gathering his own rebound following a smooth zone entry. It was all Canucks early in the second, as Nathan Day stood tall to turn away this Kirill Kudryavtsev chance as well.
23-year-old Carl Berglund opened the scoring for the Oilers as he converted on Edmonton’s first shot of the second frame to beat Tolopilo and cut the Vancouver lead down to one.
The Oilers struck quickly again, as Carter Savoie made no mistake in depositing a pass right into the slot behind Tolopilo to tie this one up for Edmonton.
After a strong start to the period, there was some sloppy play in front of Tolopilo as the Canucks seemingly lost focus for a five-minute stretch.
Beau Akey put the Canucks back on the power play for the third time of the night — yes it was his third penalty of the night — when he put Akito Hirose in a headlock.
Kirill Kudryavtsev set up Marc Gatcomb for a scoring opportunity in the slot that was blocked on its way to the Edmonton goal. Aidan McDonough was itching to get the puck, but despite a solid cycle by the Canucks’ power play, McDonough didn’t find himself with any good looks.
Tied at two after 40 minutes, we had ourselves a tight one!

Third Period

Jonathan Lemieux entered the game as Nikita Tolopilo was given the rest of the game off.
The first significant chance of the period came from Danila Klimovich, who moved in on Day and hit the goal post. This opened the floodgates a bit, as the Oilers came down the other way with a three-on-one that Lemieux neatly turned away in his first big save of the afternoon.
Cole McWard let go of a seeing-eye point shot that gave the Canucks the edge with just over ten minutes left in the final frame.
Noah Ganske took a penalty that put a dent in the Oilers’ comeback attempt with nine minutes left to go. The Canucks’ power play didn’t quite get set up on this one, so it was back to protecting the one-goal lead.
And who better to protect that lead than the man in goal? Jonathan Lemiuex made one of the best saves of the tournament on the fifth shot he faced.
This preserved the lead and left enough time for the Canucks to pick up their sixth power play of the game. On that power play, Aidan McDonough got back to doing Aidan McDonough things. Scoring his third goal of the tournament, and his third goal in which he’s absolutely ripped a wrist shot cleanly past a goaltender. All three goals have also come on the power play.
With three minutes left in the period, the Oilers pulled their goalie and sent out the extra attacker to try to chip into the Canucks’ two goal lead. It was all for naught though, as a strong forechecking effort from Marc Gatcomb led to Aatu Räty putting the icing on the cake in this one.
And there you have it, folks! That concludes the 2023 Young Stars Classic. What did you take away from the tournament? Let us know in the comments section below!

Check out these posts...