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Round 2
Round 3
Stanley Cup Final
POSTED ON Tuesday, 09.13.2011 / 5:09 PM

By Ryan Pinder -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Prospecting the future

One game in The Okanagan today

The schedule shows a light day at the Young Stars Tournament in Penticton, B.C., but the lone match features two undefeated sides.

The Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets will meet tonight at 7:30 PST for their respective second matches of the tournament, while the host Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames, and San Jose Sharks have all played two games to this point and will enjoy a day without a game.

Eyes will be trailing two of hockey's most prized 18-year-olds tonight, as first-round picks Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Mark Scheifele will go head-to-head. Each 2011 draftee produced in their opening game of the tournament -- top-pick Nugent-Hopkins had an assist Sunday in Edmonton's 7-2 win, while seventh pick Scheifele scored what has to be a candidate for goal of the tournament, and added an assist in the Jets 4-0 win Monday night.
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POSTED ON Tuesday, 09.13.2011 / 1:04 AM

By Ryan Pinder -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Prospecting the future

Jets look good in second-straight win

The Winnipeg Jets looked awfully sharp in their first game of the Young Stars Tournament in Penticton. No, they weren't wearing their brand new jerseys (they wore spiffy practice jerseys instead), but they did win, and did so by a decisive 4-0 margin.

Levko Koper scored a pair of goals to help lead the Jets to their first win in more than a decade, and he got some help from a couple of promising young forwards, too.

University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux alumni Jason Gregoire, who hails from Winnipeg, looked very good playing on a line with 2011 first-round pick Mark Scheifele; each scored a goal in the win and had a flock of Jets fans dancing in their seats for most of the evening.

Speeking of Jets fans, they did arrive in solid numbers in the Okanagan today and we're as keen as could be to see Winnipeg's NHL hockey players of the future. Loud cheers followed all the Jets goals Monday, including Koper's empty-net goal. Granted, It's been awhile between NHL goals for the city!

Edward Pasquale earned the shutout for the Jets as he set aside all 27 shots he faced, while Tomas Heemskerk was finally beaten in the San Jose nets after posting a perfect half game Sunday against Calgary.

The Jets return to action Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. PST when they face the Edmonton Oilers, while the Sharks have just a single game remaining against the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. PST.
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POSTED ON Monday, 09.12.2011 / 10:52 PM

By Ryan Pinder -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Prospecting the future

Canucks rally for win

Down 3-2 with less than a minute remaining, it appeared the Vancouver Canucks' prospects were set to drop their second consecutive match at the Young Stars Tournament. But Nathan Longpre wouldn't let it happen.

With just 15 seconds remaining, Longpre – in Penticton on a tryout after a productive season at Robert Morris – equalized the game on a goal mouth scramble, and then set up the winner just 16 seconds into the 4-on-4 overtime. He finished the night with two goals and an assist.

The Canucks' rally spoiled a tidy evening for Calgary Flames goalie Joni Ortio, who looked much sharper than he did in Sunday's tournament-opening loss, but got a win for Karel St. Laurent who was superb at the opposite end of the rink making 44 saves on 47 shots. The two goalies stole the show in a game that featured 87 shots.

St. Laurent couldn't stick as a 20-year-old in the QMJHL last season and headed west to Greater Vancouver, to play for the BCHL's Surrey Eagles in hopes of keeping his pro dreams alive. He's now allowed just four goals in a game and a half, and has been one of the bright Canucks stories of the event.

Patrick Holland was strong for the Flames Prospects as he had a pair of bang-in goals at the net – both assisted by Max Reinhart. Both Holland and Reinhart are 1992-born players and are safe bets to be returned to their WHL teams this season.

Sven Baertschi has only played two games in Flames silks, but he seems to create scoring opportunities at will. He was on the ice for the two Holland goals and showed a gritty element to his game in post-whistle scrums. The future is bright for the18-year-old Swiss talent who played in Portland last season.

Monday afternoon's showdown was the first close game of the tournament and left fans grinning from ear-to-ear.

The Canucks play again on Wednesday at 4 p.m. PST against the Sharks, while the Flames will play their final game of the tournament on Wednesday evening at 7:30 p.m. PST against their provincial rivals from Edmonton.
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POSTED ON Monday, 09.12.2011 / 10:45 PM

By Ryan Pinder -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Prospecting the future

Late rally gives Canucks first win

Down a goal with less than a minute remaining, it appeared the Vancouver Canucks prospects were set to drop their second consecutive match at the Young Stars Tournament, but Nathan Longpre wouldn’t let it happen.

With just fifteen seconds remaining, Longpre -- in Penticton on a tryout after a productive season at Robert Morris University -- equalized the game on a goal-mouth scramble, and then set up the winner just 16 seconds into the four-on-four overtime as the Canucks down Calgary, 4-3.

Longpre finished the night with two goals and an assist.

The rally spoiled a tidy evening for Flames goalie Joni Ortio, who looked much sharper than he did in Sunday’s tournament-opening loss. But, it provided a win to Vancouver goalie Karel St. Laurent, who was superb at the opposite end of the rink making 44 saves on 47 shots. The two goalies stole the show in a game that featured 87 shots.

St. Laurent couldn’t stick as a 20-year-old in the QMJHL last season and headed west to Greater Vancouver, to play for the BCHL’s Surrey Eagles in hopes of keeping his pro dreams alive. He’s now allowed just four goals in a game and a half, and has been one of the bright Canucks stories of the event.

Patrick Holland was strong for the Flames prospects as he had a pair of bang-in goals at the net, both assisted by Max Reinhart. Both Holland and Reinhart are 1992-born players and are safe bets to be returned to their WHL teams this season.

Sven Baertschi has only played two games in a Flames uniform, but he seems to create scoring opportunities at will. He was on the ice for the two Holland goals and showed a gritty element to his game in post-whistle scrums. The future is bright for the18-year-old Swiss talent who played in Portland last season.

Monday afternoon’s game was the first close game of the tournament and left fans grinning from ear-to-ear. Certainly more compelling than Sunday’s 6-1 and 7-2 games.

The Canucks play again Wednesday at 4 p.m. PST against the Sharks, while the Flames will play their final game of the tournament Wednesday evening at 7:30 p.m. PST against their provincial rivals from Edmonton.
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POSTED ON Monday, 09.12.2011 / 9:42 PM

By Ryan Pinder -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Prospecting the future

No Jets' jerseys just yet

There's been a lot of buzz about shapes and colors in Winnipeg over the past few months. Team names, logos, fonts, shades – these are the things to talk about in Manitoba when there's no hockey in the summer, and the return of the Jets is slated for the fall.

The Winnipeg franchise took its time announcing the team name would be restored to the Jets, and have also been patient in releasing new logos. Tonight, they'll finally be a hockey game to talk about, but alas, no official jerseys will hit the ice.

Expect more fashion expertise from hockey fans when the Jets do dawn their silks for the first time. Just don't count on it happening this week in Penticton from the Young Stars Tournament.
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POSTED ON Monday, 09.12.2011 / 9:00 AM

By Ryan Pinder -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Prospecting the future

Oilers get jump on Canucks, win big

Two games, and two lopsided scores in Penticton on Sunday's Day 1 of the Young Stars Tournament.

After the Flames Prospects got beaten 6-1 in the afternoon by the San Jose Sharks, the tournament hosting Vancouver Canucks got picked apart by the Edmonton Oilers, 7-2.

Much like the earlier game at the South Okanagan Events Centre, goaltending was an issue for the losing side. The Oilers did most of their scoring early, beating Vancouver starter David Honzik six times before Karel St. Laurent spelled him between the pipes midway through the match.

St. Laurent fared much better than his predecessor allowing just a single goal in a half game appearance.

Olivier Roy lived up to his last name on this night for the Oilers, as he backstopped the Albertans to a win to start their week in Penticton.

The Oilers got a pair of tallies from Anton Lander – a 20-year-old Swede selected in the second round of the 2009 Entry Draft. Kamloops Blazers forward Colin Smith had two assists in the win as one of the youngest players on the ice.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins drew the largest cheer when he was announced as part of  the starting online-up for the game. For the second-straight year, Oilers Nation has flooded the Okanagan in big numbers (draped in orange and blue garb) to get a peek at an impressive stable of talented young kids. While outnumbered by the team of choice in BC, the Oilers fans could be heard starting chants around the rink.

The ‘Nuge’ or ‘R.N.H.’ (which ever handle you prefer for the top pick in the draft) finished the night with an assist, as did Nicklas Jensen, the Canucks top pick in June, but both were upstaged by some big-time fisticuffs midway through the game.

First Cameron Abney and Sawyer Hannay slugged it out in a lengthy fight late in the second period, and that hostility seemed to carry over to the third. In the early going then, two shorter scraps ensued with each the Oilers and Canucks benches taking a turn cheering a one-sided tussel.

In the late going Jordan Schroeder potted the second and final goal of the game for the Canucks.

Schroeder is coming off an AHL season that left more to be desired offensively, and the fans were vocal in their applause for his strike, which happened to be the only tally of a 9-goal game that occurred in the third period.
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POSTED ON Sunday, 09.11.2011 / 10:30 PM

By Ryan Pinder -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Prospecting the future

Sharks douse Flames, 6-1

The San Jose Sharks didn’t need much time to get on the board in their tournament-opening match against the Calgary Flames on Sunday afternoon, scoring twice in the first  five minutes of the first period on their way to a 6-1 win.

Flames Finnish goalie  Joni Ortio wasn’t at his best Sunday – allowing 6  goals on 23 shots – while his counterparts for the Sharks only surrendered a single penalty-shot goal on 39 shots.

Thomas Heemskerk was spectacular in a busy first period in the Sharks zone and left with a clean sheet halfway through, while J.P. Anderson also kept the Flames at bay in the second half of the contest, stopping one of two penalty shots, and all other Flames opportunities.

The Sharks were led by Brodie Reid, Joe Antilla and Michael Sgarbossa who each had two points in the win. Reid, signed in this past  spring after freshman season with the Northeastern Huskies (Hockey East), played a season in Penticton with the Vees in 2008-09 and seemed at home in the familiar confines of the South Okanagan Events Centre as he scored once and set up another Sharks goal.

The Flames lone tally came from Roman Horak, acquired in the Tim Erixon trade, as he squeaked a backhanded deke past Anderson on a penalty shot awarded in the third period.

Sven Baertschi, the Flames first-round draft pick in 2011,  also earned  a penalty shot granted after he was taken down on a clear break, but he failed to convert the opportunity against Anderson.

The Flames owned the edge in possession and the shots in the first period, directing 16 pucks on target while allowing just 5, but the Sharks got to the intermission with a two-goal advantage and looked the better side for the final two periods.

The Flames return to action Monday afternoon against the Vancouver Canucks at 4:00 PM PST, while the Sharks return to action Monday evening at 7:30 to face the Winnipeg Jets.
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POSTED ON Sunday, 09.11.2011 / 4:32 PM

By Ryan Pinder -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Prospecting the future

Prospects primed for Penticton

The 2011 Young Stars Tournament hosted by the Vancouver Canucks begins Sunday from the South Okanagan Events Centre in Penticton, British Columbia.

The Canucks, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, San Jose Sharks, and Winnipeg Jets have brought their prospects to the Okanagan Valley for five days of games showcasing what fans are hoping will be future NHL stars.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is the marquee name at the event, just months removed from being taken with the No. 1 pick at the 2011 Entry Draft in Minnesota. For the second year in a row, the Oilers have brought the NHL's top pick to Penticton, as Taylor Hall's first pro moments were witnessed just a year ago in this same event.

Wins aren't the primary focus of the coaching staffs in attendance. The event has proven to be an effective tool in player evaluation before the veterans arrive on the scene for training camp. Playing time will be spread around, and most teams will use three different goalies over the course of the event that sees each team play three contests with the exception of the Canucks, who play four times.

The Winnipeg Jets arrive on the scene as the new kids on the block, replacing the Anaheim Ducks who were at last September's inaugural event. Four Canadian teams participating means fans from across Western Canada will be making the trek to the renowned vacation hot-spot that is Penticton. Speculation is that the Jets could showcase their jerseys for the first time on-ice. The Jets' first game is Monday evening when they face the Sharks prospects at 7:30 p.m. PST.

The South Okanagan Events Centre is the home of the Penticton Vees (BCHL, Jr. A) and seats 5,200 fans for hockey events. The Young Stars Tournament was immensely popular last season, with nearly all games played before capacity crowds. Also affixed to the 3-year-old, state-of-the-art facility is a second sheet of ice which logistically allows five teams to get morning skates and games in with ease.

The Flames and Sharks kick off the event at 4 p.m. PST Sunday, with the host Canucks and Oilers facing off at 7:30 p.m. PST.

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I was in there icing my face as she was trying to push a baby out.

— Anaheim Ducks forward Ryan Getzlaf on going to the hospital with a facial laceration while his wife was in labor following Game 1 on Wednesday