PENTICTON, B.C. - The Winnipeg Jets are still searching for their first win at the 2016 Young Stars Classic.
Tyler Coulter broke a 2-2 tie with just over nine minutes left in the third period to lift the Vancouver Canucks to a 3-2 win, dropping the Jets' record to 0-2 in the three-game tournament.
Michael Spacek and Jimmy Lodge had the goals for Winnipeg, rallying the Jets from a two-goal deficit, but Coulter restored the advantage on a breakaway soon after, helping the Canucks improve to 1-1.
Jets goalie Jamie Phillips made 25 saves in a losing effort.
The Jets will have one last chance to record a W when they entertain the Edmonton Oilers in a Monday matinee before heading back to Winnipeg.
"We were moving the puck faster (in the third period)," Moose coach Pascal Vincent said. "Better puck support, we were creating 2-on-1s offensively, and defensively, we were getting the puck back. Overall it was a cleaner game than the last one. We could see better movement from our players offensively, supporting the puck. We would like to see a bit more of a physical game, finishing our checks. … It's a baby step. It was a better game for us. Now we have to implement details of the game. It's a lot to take for those guys, but I think we got better as the game went along."
Video: POST-GAME | Pascal Vincent
The Canucks opened the scoring midway through the opening frame as the undrafted Danny Moynihan drove hard to the net. Alone at the far post, Moynihan quickly put the away the rebound after former UND defenceman Troy Stecher - who attended Jets Development Camp in 2015 - fired the puck from the right-wing boards.
Shots favoured the Jets 12-11 after one period of play.
The Jets had difficulty generating offence in the second, squandering back-to-back power-play chances and passing by both without generating even a single shot on goal. Indeed, it was the Canucks that carried the play, and after (almost) a full period of seeing their chances turned aside, they extended the lead with a buzzer beater.
Capitalizing on one of the many odd-man opportunities in the period, 2013 third-rounder Cole Cassels jumped on a loose puck in front, slamming it past Phillips to put the Jets down by a deuce with just .3 on the clock.
"That last 10 seconds in the second period…we kind of gave up on the play and that was the difference right there," Lodge said.
Video: POST-GAME | Jimmy Lodge
The Jets had just five shots in the period, all easily handled by the opposing netminder, Michael Garteig.
In the third, the Jets were definitely the better of the two teams, outshooting the Canucks 11-8.
"It just came down to us making sure we were doing the little things right," defenceman Nelson Nogier said. "Getting pucks behind their D, tracking it and moving our feet. It was a matter of us executing the way we needed to and obviously we got some success out of that."
Spacek made it a game with an unassisted shorthanded marker just three-and-a-half minutes into the third. After stripping a defender at the defensive blue line, Spacek raced in alone and made a beautiful move in tight, tucking the puck between the pad and the post for the Jets' first goal in more than four periods.
"He's come a long, long ways," said Nogier, who spent the 2015-16 season with Spacek and the Memorial Cup host Red Deer Rebels. "He's adapting to the North American game. I think he was used to a little more time and space and when he got here (from the Czech Republic), on that smaller ice, you obviously don't have as much. Once he started to buy into team systems and stuff like that, he realized it was going to work for him and he just ran with it."
Video: POST-GAME | Nelson Nogier
The Jets tied things up with 11:45 to play as Lodge picked off a pass, drove to the net and buried a shot upstairs, just under the bar.
"It's disappointing," said Brendan Lemieux, who's a little banged up and spent about a half hour getting treatment from the medical staff after the game. "We put some good plays together. It's starting to come. We're getting more and more comfortable with each other now. It's just one of those things - it's the beginning of the year. Some find (success) early, some guys don't.
"Right now we're tuning up and that's what this is about."
Video: POST-GAME | Brendan Lemieux