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Ehlers records three assists in win over Oilers

by Ryan Dittrick (@ryandittrick) / Winnipeg Jets

  5 - 4 (OT)

PENTICTON, BC – Scott Kosmachuk scored four minutes and nine seconds into 3-on-3 overtime as the Winnipeg Jets closed out the 2015 Young Stars Classic with a 5-4
win over the Edmonton Oilers.

Kosmachuk jammed home a loose puck in the blue paint after an extended shift
deep in Oilers territory.

“I thought we played more as a unit (today),” Manitoba Moose Head Coach Keith McCambridge said. “We had a good start and we were able to defend a lot better. You can have all the offence in the world but if you can’t get the puck to them, it’s not going to matter. We did that here

Andrew Copp had a pair of goals, Nikolaj Ehlers had three assists and goaltender Eric Comrie made 32 saves in the win.

Copp gave the Jets a 1-0 lead at 6:26, tucking a bouncing shot past Eetu Laurikainen to cap a wild scramble in front. Ehlers orchestrated the play with some dazzling stick work, sliding a no-look, behind-the-back pass into the slot, drawing a chorus of ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ from
the nearly sold-out crowd. 

As it turned out, Ehlers was just getting warmed up.

The talented Dane delivered again just three-and-a-half minutes later, feeding Copp with a beautiful slap pass on a 2-on-1 rush to put the Jets up by two.

“I felt great out there today,” Ehlers said. “I think I used my speed to do what I do best, which is to get to the net and play my game. … I felt OK the first two games, but I got better and better and that was my goal.”

“I thought it was his best game,” McCambridge added.

Ehlers and Copp combined for eight shots on goal.

“He’s really dynamic,” Copp said of his linemate. “He’s got great speed and he can see things on the ice that a lot of players can’t. It was a real treat to play with him today.

“I thought we played more as a team. We supported the puck a lot better and finished our chances. Overall it was a better effort and it was great to get the win. … It was a good way to get ready for main camp. As a team we grew throughout the week and got better as each period and each game went along. It’s all about getting comfortable and I think in this game we really showed that.

“I feel like I took a step forward this week.”

The Oilers weren’t going away, mind you. Back-to-back defensive zone faceoffs put the Jets on their heels late in the first – and with a flick of the wrist and a fortunate bounce, Alexis Loiseau cut the lead in half with 3.8 seconds left.

Shots on goal favoured the Jets 15-7 after one period of play.

A power-play goal brought the Oilers back on even terms near the eight-minute mark of the second period. With Jimmy Lodge off for high-sticking, Braden Christoffer pulled a nifty move down low, dangling in tight before sending a quick shot past Comrie.

De Leo’s power-play marker put the Jets up 3-2 at 2:20 of the third period – again, made possible by the skilful efforts of Ehlers, who sauced a pretty pass across for the tap in. Morrissey gave the Jets their second two-goal lead of the night with 12-and-a-half minutes to play, juking his way to the net before capitalizing on a goalmouth scramble. Lodge and Winnipeg native Brendan O’Donnell
recorded the assists – their first points of the tournament.

But the lead didn’t last.

Josh Winquist made a game of it with a goal midway through the period before the Oilers tied it up late. With 3:31 to play, Loiseau evaded a check along the half wall before walking to the net and depositing a backhand shot five hole.

The Jets dominated the 3-on-3 overtime session, ultimately resulting in Kosmachuk’s winning tally.

“Each game we were progressing toward what we wanted to see, which was a win,” defenceman Josh Morrissey said. "We did some good things yesterday, but we needed to put more pucks to the net — and we did that today.

“No one wanted to come back to Winnipeg without a win. A lot of guys stepped up and the whole team played well.”

-- Ryan Dittrick, 

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