On paper, we knew the Vancouver Canucks Young Stars roster was perhaps the best one ever assembled. On the ice at the South Okanagan Events Centre on Friday night, they proved it.
Seven goals on their first 21 shots of the game propelled the Canucks to a lopsided 8-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets in the first of two games the teams will play each other at the 2018 Young Stars Classic in Penticton.
Jonah Gadjovich, Elias Pettersson and Petrus Palmu each found the back of the net twice for the Canucks, while goaltender Michael DiPietro was solid between the pipes.
Adam Gaudette, the lone player on the roster to have seen NHL action with the Canucks, opened the scoring just 63 seconds into the game, in what was a somewhat closely contested 1st period that saw DiPietro make a couple key saves, which included turning away a shorthanded breakaway chance off the stick of Jets forward Samuel Litalien.
However, the biggest save of the period, and maybe the game, went to Canucks blueliner Garrett McFadden, who slid across and stopped the puck with his skate in the final minute of the frame. If that goes in, it's a 1-1 game after 20 minutes. Thankfully, it did not.
The middle stanza was all Canucks. Gadjovich opened the scoring 1:52 into the period, then Palmu made it 3-0 shortly after on a rebound. Pettersson found Jonathan Dahlen all alone moment later, and hit his fellow countryman with a breakaway pass. The reigning Allsvenskan league MVP showed off his skill going five-hole to make it a 4-0 game.
After Palmu added his second of the night, it was Pettersson's turn to find the back of the net and did he ever. The blue-chip prospect rifled a wrist shot from the left faceoff dot, popping the water bottle and making it a six-goal lead for the Canucks.
The Canucks added one more as Gadjovich scored his second of the game, before the Jets would strike as Michael Spacek put the puck past DiPietro. Pettersson added his second of the night 1:10 into the final frame, banging home a rebound of a Dahlen shot.
The two teams will go head-to-head again on Sunday afternoon to close out the 2018 Young Stars Classic. Puck drop in Penticton is slated for 2:00 pm.
Video: YOUNG STARS | Pettersson on Debut
Video: YOUNG STARS | Highlights Canucks vs Jets Game 1
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