Canucks’ Young Stars get big games from Klimovich, Gatcomb, and Nielsen in 4-1 win over Jets
By Faber2 months ago
The Vancouver Canucks continued to look great at their Young Stars Tournament. After a commanding 3–0 win on Friday night, they followed it up with a 4–1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets.
There were a lot of little tidbits that we took away from the game and we will talk about them all in this variation of a postgame article.
I’m not going to try and write a “Stanchies” here but we have some good postgame interviews to go along with some of the highlights.
The Big Story
Let’s proceed with the star of Sunday’s contest, Danila Klimovich.
We wanted to see Klimovich play like this for at least one game at the Young Stars Classic. He was more physical and engaged than usual and added both a goal and a beautiful assist.
Klimovich got into the offence with a great pass across the slot to Tristen Nielsen for the goal that ultimately stood as the game-winner, breaking the 1–1 tie in the second period.
Klimovich was made available to the media in the postgame and joked by beginning the availability saying, “not too many questions.”
He went on to talk about the assist on Nielsen’s goal.
“I just saw him skating down the back door and I just gave it to him and he scored,” Klimovich said. “That’s it.”
Abbotsford Canucks Coach Jeremy Colliton commented on what he saw from Klimovich in the 4–1 win.
”I thought today was a step forward, especially the second period on,” Colliton said. “He was just a little harder on the puck, stronger on the puck, a when he does that, he’s got a heavy shot, he’s got vision and made a couple of really nice plays to create offence for us.
“So, hopefully, he can continue to raise his pace with and without the puck. You can see the tools that are there. But I thought today it was a step forward.”
Colliton is undoubtedly looking forward to working with Klimovich this season as there is clearly a lot of talent in the kid’s game. Klimovich really needs the right coach at this stage of his young hockey career.
If Colliton can develop Klimovich into an NHLer, the Abby coach will be a fan favourite for his work with the AHL team.
“I’m excited to work with the guys we have, obviously he’s one of them,” Colliton said when asked about aiding Klimovich’s development. “He’s got a lot of raw material, and ultimately, my job as a coach is to give feedback and they have to know that I’m here to do everything I can so that they can have success. Ultimately, it’s up to them to respond. And the ones that respond, they will get more opportunity.”
Nielsen also had a goal and an assist in the game. He offered some high praise for Klimovich’s strong game and, more specifically, the pass his linemate made through the slot to set up his goal.
”I was shocked,” Nielsen said. I was like, ‘oh my goodness.’ It was a perfect pass, you couldn’t have asked for a better one. He does that sometimes, he’s so deceptive. He’s got the hardest wrist shot I’ve ever seen in my life. And then every once in a while he’ll have the goalie think and he’s shooting then he’ll just slide it over. He’s really skilled.”
Nielsen has had a pretty good tournament for himself, recording a pair of goals and an assist through two games.
He continues to have that dog in him and be the most disruptive Canuck on the ice at this tournament. Nielsen is playing like a veteran this weekend and views himself and some of the other 22-year-olds as guys who need to step up at this tournament.
“It’s awesome,” Nielsen responded when asked about how much fun he is having at this tournament. “It kind of brings you back to the junior days — playing against younger guys. To have the confidence that the older guys are getting from this tournament going into main camp — I think it’s really going to show. We’re going to be in a little bit better shape from the games. I’m really looking forward to main camp.”
In Other News
The Canucks got another good goaltending performance from their netminder on Sunday. Ty Young got the call to the crease for the entire game and made a few acrobatic saves, ultimately stopping 28 of the 29 shots he faced.
Marc Gatcomb, who signed with the Canucks after his college season and appeared in six games with Abbotsford last season, scored two goals in the contest.
There could be a spot in the bottom-end of the AHL lineup for Gatcomb, who plays a tough, physical game and knows he needs to stick to what he’s good at to have success in Abbotsford this season.
“There’s a new coach, so, everyone’s got a lot to prove,” Gatcomb said. “I think [Colliton] has done a good job with acclimating all the guys and telling us how he wants us to play. I’m just doing the things that he asked for, trying to play simple, just playing my game and sticking to that.”
Gatcomb is a 23-year-old, 6’2”, 200-pound winger who caught the eye of Abbotsford general manager Ryan Johnson with his strong physical play in the NCAA.
Defenceman Quinn Schmiemann had a strong game on Sunday. He was very physical around his crease and had a couple of nice breakouts from his own end.
Schmiemann had a few slip-ups with the puck but he is looking like a defenceman who could be quality depth for the AHL team.
I’ve been keeping an eye on Schmiemann and Chad Nychuk, who are both left-shot defencemen who played in the WHL last season. It’s looking like these two should battle for ice time in Abbotsford this fall and though I’ve personally liked Nychuk more up to this point in the summer, Schmiemann gained some points on Nychuk with his play on Sunday.
Nils Åman and Linus Karlsson spent time as a pair to kill penalties. It would be great if they could do the same — and find success with it — in Abbotsford.
The line of Arshdeep Bains, Nils Åman, and Linus Karlsson was excellent. They spent a massive amount of their ice time in the offensive zone and had the best chemistry we’ve seen from the Canucks’ lines through six periods at this tournament.
All three players work hard on the boards and have good hockey IQ — knowing where to go for openings in the offensive zone. This could end up being a middle-six line combination in the AHL.
Riding into Monday with a perfect 2–0 record, the Canucks will face the Edmonton Oilers squad for the game that will crown the winner of this tournament. The Oilers are also 2–0 heading into Monday, having beat the Flames 4–1 and the Jets 3–2.
Monday should be another great game as this tournament comes to a conclusion. Puck drop is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. and we’re hoping to see the Canucks give it to the Oily Boys.
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