Ryan Nugent Hopkins was the story early, but 19-year-old goalie Tyler Bunz ended up stealing the show as he and the Edmonton Oilers blanked the Winnipeg Jets 2-0 on Tuesday night.
The Oilers are now 2-0-0 in the Penticton Young Stars tournament.
Bunz was sturdy all night but seemed to get better and better as the game progressed. In the second period he made a tricky save after a puck hit the iron, then in the final two minutes he made two gigantic saves to preserve the win. He reacted to the final buzzer and his shut-out performance with a double fist pump before being mobbed by teammates.
Both goals in the game came from the Oilers in the first period. First, Chase Schaber scored less than three minutes in, then Nugent-Hopkins and Kristians Pelss set up defender Ryan Lowery, who got a puck through traffic and behind Jets goalie Chris Carrozzi.
Nugent-Hopkins’s assist on the power-play goal gave him his second point in as many games, but it was his physicality that had fans, scouts and media buzzing, as he used his body effectively early on in the game, doling out multiple hits.
For the Jets, Eric O’Dell had a stellar chance to beat Bunz in the second frame, but hit the post, and Bunz kept it out of the cage off the firm carom. Then in the final frame, Carl Klingberg took a great pass, cut across Bunz’s crease, but missed a tap-in on a yawning cage.