Finally, we have some hockey to talk about at Jets Nation.
The Winnipeg Jets prospects opened up the Young Stars Classic tournament Friday night against the Calgary Flames in Pentincton, B.C.
The game started about how you would expect the first game between two teams full of prospects to go. There was a lot of rust to shake off and a whole lot of sloppy play to go around. The Jets especially started off slow, as the Flames put them on their heels early. Connor Hellebuyck, however, was very sharp early on as he had to make a few key saves.
However, sloppy and undisciplined play resulted in the Flames taking a 2-0 lead in the first. The first goal scored by Van Brabant was a laser of a shot from the left circle that went bar down on Hellebuyck. The second goal was scored just minutes later when Lomberg had a clear path to the net along the red line and beat Hellebuyck short side.
Before the first period ended, Brendan Lemieux, who was being a best to the Flames all period, one-timed home a beautiful feed from Jimmy Lodge to give the Jets some life heading into the second period.
The second period was more up to the Jets standards. While the Jets didn’t manage a goal in the second, they did a better job of controlling play 5-on-5 and were much more disciplined than in the first. Eric Comrie replaced Hellebuyck halfway through the second and was faced with a penalty shot almost immediately. Lomberg was awarded the penalty shot, but Comrie stayed calm and stopped it with ease.
The third period was much more back and forth and the chippiness really started to come out in the game. The Jets kept pressing to get the equalizer, but Flames goalie John Gillies would not be beat. The Flames added an empty net goal in the final seconds to win the game 3-1.
Hellebuyck/Comrie very strong – Goaltending was certainly not the reason the Jets lost this one. Hellebuyck was peppered with shots, especially early on, and finished the game with 18 saves. Comrie came in halfway through the game and stopped all 16 shots he faced.
A lot of sloppy/chippy play – It was the first competitive game for both of these teams that consisted solely of kids. Of course there was going to be a lot of sloppiness to the game. The difference in this game was that the Flames took advantage of the Jets sloppiness early in the game, and the Jets were not able to rebound. However, it was good to see a lot of fight in these kids. Obviously, they are out to prove themselves and impress the Jets coaching staff, but these are relatively meaningless games. Despite that, you saw a lot of intensity and fight in these kids and they stood up for each other, which shouldn’t be overlooked.
Brendan Lemieux is a chip off the old block – Was anyone else getting deja vu back to the 90’s? Watching Brendan play last night reminded me so much about his father Claude. Very hard nosed player, not afraid to throw his body around, and has a good bit of skill. Oh, and did a mention the chirping? Of course, it did get him in trouble on a couple occasions, but he’s still young and he’ll need to learn how to pick and choose his spots. If the Jets end up with a mini version of Claude Lemiuex, I think they’d be pretty happy with that.
Yes, the Jets lost, but HOCKEY IS BACK! GET EXCITED JETS NATION!!!