You can be forgiven if you happened to miss the Jets second game of the Penticton Young Stars Tournament due to the glut of all other sports happening on a Sunday afternoon. There was a lot to watch and even though we’re itching for hockey action, this after all is just rookie exhibition games.
It’s not like you missed much anyway especially if you’re a fan of seeing players wearing Jets colours play well, which they didn’t exactly do Sunday afternoon. In fact as the game wore on it got downright ugly.
The first period was scoreless thanks to the netminding of Connor Hellebuyck for the Jets and Jackson Whistle of the Canucks. Hellebuyck was the busier of the two goalies in the first frame, but Whistle had to be sharp on a couple of great chances on net from Chase DeLeo and Nic Petan. The key highlight in the opening frame was an awkward looking hit-from-behind by the Canucks Jordan Subban on Nik Ehlers who had his back turned while trying to shield the puck along the boards. Brendan Lemieux quickly jumped in to have a chat with Subban mainly using his knuckles.
Ehlers appears to be fine and finished the game. Lemieux gained a few more brownie points with Jets fans.
The second period was more of the same with the Canucks carrying most of the play while the Jets defense had issues clearing their own zone. Jared McCann opened up scoring late in the second after a string of good Canuck scoring chances by keeping on a Canucks 2 on 1 and flicking a wrist shot through the five hole of Hellebuyck.
A few minutes later after a pair of penalties put the Canucks down 2 men, the Jets got working on a 5 on 3 powerplay and with Petan causing some issues in front of the net, Josh Morrissey from the point banked what looked to be a cross ice pass off the skate of a Canucks defender and past Whistle to end the second period even at 1-1.
It then got ugly in the third period as the Canucks got started quickly with goals from Mike Zalewski who hammered home a loose puck of a scramble in front of the Jets net just 30 seconds into the final period, and Reid Gardiner followed up a couple of minutes later with a wraparound that everyone in blue seemed to be slow to react on to dash any thoughts of a Jets comeback.
Hunter Shinkaruk iced things at the end with an empty net goal.
Hellebuyck held his ground – While Connor had some issues starting off game one of the tournament, there were no such issues Sunday as he looked much sharper and more positionally sound. He probably would have liked back that opening goal that he wasn’t able to close up his legs on, and he did look a little slow getting over across the net on the Gardiner wrap around, but they are also goals that could have used a lot more help from his defense on as well. Helle finished the game with 42 saves.
There are the top level prospects, and then there is everyone else… – DeLeo, Ehlers, Morrissey, Hellebuyck, Petan and Lemieux all looked pretty good and continue to show flashes why they are all considered big parts of Winnipeg’s future. After that however the talent level drops off somewhat sharply and it’s especially evident on the blue line where the Jets had issues all game trying to get the puck out of their own zone.
Just how ugly was the game? – Our fearless leader Garret kept track of the Jets corsi through the game…
Final numbers on that very one sided game: pic.twitter.com/Q7nxBEwhj2
— Garret Hohl (@GarretHohl) September 13, 2015
It wasn’t a pretty game by any stretch and there are many kinks to work out, but again the end result isn’t exactly what coaches are looking at.