CONNAUTON BREAKS OUT
While all the attention was on Sergei Shirokov before the puck dropped in Edmonton Wednesday night, post-game, everyone was talking about, Kevin Connauton, who scored two goals less than a minute apart.
Not only did he have a stand-game in his Canucks debut, doing it in front of the hometown crowd makes it that much more memorable.
"Obviously, it's nice to impress the Canucks but it's really nice to be in front of the hometown crowd too and the couple of goals is just a bonus," he said following the game.
The 19 year old defenceman finished fifth in scoring for the University of Western Michigan Broncos in his freshman year with the team last season.
CANUCKS PROSPECTS IMPRESS
Vancouver came out a little slow to begin, taking five straight penalties in the first period and falling behind 1-0 early in the first but Kellan Tochkin's goal at 17:38 of the period helped the Canucks even things out going into the second period.
Tochkin added another goal early in the third to boost the Canucks prospects past the University of Alberta Golden Bears 4-3 in the first of two games on the Canucks trip to Edmonton.
"The bounces seem to be going my way and the team's way so I'm really happy with the outcome," said Tochkin.
Shirokov made his North American debut and his skill is evident in his play with a great sense of the ice and creating plays.
But the most memorable moment of Shirokov's performance last night is a big hit that generated a great roar of approval from the crowd... and coaches.
"He got hit a couple times and I think he kind of said, 'Okay, enough of this', and got a big hit and it's nice to see," said Scott Arniel, who was behind the bench for Vancouver. "A kid like that competes hard and he's a pretty solid kid, you see him in the dressing room and he's a real solid kid. And that was quite a hit."
Shirokov finished with two assists and a plus-2 rating.
The Canucks prospects faceoff against the Edmonton Oilers prospects tonight at 6:00pm PST. You can watch the game live on canucks.com.
CANUCKS DOWNED 6-3
The Vancouver Canucks prospects are leaving Alberta with a split after suffering a 6-3 loss to the Edmonton Oilers prospects Thursday night in Leduc.
For the second consecutive game the Canucks got into penalty trouble early, but unlike its 4-3 win over the University of Alberta Golden Bears a night earlier, Vancouver was unable to persevere through it.
Canucks netminder Bobby Nadeau surrendered a power play goal just 2:27 into the opening period to put the Oilers on the board. The Canucks took another three penalties in the first and managed to kill them all, one even served in their favour with Mario Bliznak finishing a 2-on-1 rush started by Sergei Shirokov to even up the score with just over two minutes left in the period.
A pair of quick goals to end the first put the Canucks in a 3-1 hole and down 14-4 in shots in a frame dominated by Oilers power plays.
In the second period, Vancouver took advantage of some undisciplined play from Edmonton to even the game up at 3-3.
First Steve Anthony had his shot on net deflect past goalie Bryan Pitton, then 6-foot-1, 207-pound forward Matthew Ford provided a perfect screen that allowed Dusty Collins to complete the Vancouver comeback.
That was as close as the Canucks would come to stealing this game.
Outshot 36-30 by Edmonton, Vancouver gave up two more goals before the end of the second and another in the third to give the Oilers the win.
Tempers boiled over a lot during this game, including early in the first when Evan Oberg took a hard spill to the ice. He left the game and did not return for cautionary reasons.
The prospects now return to Vancouver with 10 players expected to make Canucks main camp, which begins Sunday.
VETERANS SKATE AT UBC
With training camp two days away, the veterans skated at UBC's Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre today.
“We’re all sick of the bike rides. We want to start getting in some real practices and getting some contact.” said Ryan Kesler.
Notably absent, net minder Roberto Luongo opted for some dry-land practice as he rode the bikes above the arena. In addition, twenty-three year old Cory Schneider suited up for practice. The first round draft pick played 8 games with the Vancouver Canucks last season (2-4-1) and finished with a 3.88 GAA and a .877 save percentage.
“You get out here [and the level and the pace] is a little bit different but I feel good. Excited to be back and hopefully make a difference” said the netminder who spent part of his summer taking classes to finish up his degree. “We had a good year last year; hopefully we can build on that. I’ve worked hard and I’m ready to make that jump.”
In 40 games last season with the Manitoba Moose, Schneider recorded 28 wins and 10 losses for a 2.04 GAA and a 0.928 save percentage.