Kelowna Rockets forward Kole Lind sealed the fate of the Winnipeg Jets with an empty-net tally with 15 seconds left.
The goal was Lind’s third point of the evening as he helped the Vancouver Canucks open the Young Stars Classic with a 4-2 victory Friday night at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
Lind teamed up with Brett McKenzie to set up Jonah Gadjovich and Griffen Molino for two power play tallies.
“It was nice for sure. I think the biggest thing is we got the win,” said Lind. “We had a good start and then we let off in the second and then in the third we kind of got back to things, that was good.”
Selected by the Canucks in the second round of the 2017 NHL Draft, Lind said he felt like he fit in with his linemates, crediting team building activities for that. Lind had a nervous moment late in the game as he was sent to the penalty box for cross-checking at the 17 minute mark. He got his redemption with the goal empty after blocking a shot.
“It was good for sure. Those guys were chirping at me all night,” said Lind of the Jets prospects. “I know a couple of guys over there and it was nice to shove it in their face.”
“I thought we dominated in the first and third which was huge for us and then good players are going to make plays,” he said. “They ended up getting some chances in the second there. I thought we weathered the storm. Took back control in the third. Our team did a great job of not thinking about themselves first. Sometimes we run into that problem at this tournament. I think our guys did a really good job of looking for others to make plays, and kind of sharing the wealth. I think that helped us out a ton.”
Brock Boeser, one of the Canucks’ top prospects, was held off the scoresheet, but snapped a hard shot off the post, which was easily heard in the arena.
The Canucks Young Stars Classic opened with the Battle of Alberta. After a scoreless opening period, the Flames took a 2-1 lead into the third period. Juuso Valimaki and Mark Jankowski scored for the Flames, while Chad Butcher replied for the Oilers. In the third period, the Oilers took over scoring three goals en route to a 4-2 win. Butcher scored his second of the game, while Evan Polei and Kirill Maksimov also scored. Okanagan Hockey Academy alumni David Koch finished with two assists.
“They definitely had an impact on the game,” said head coach Gerry Fleming to Oilers.com of the Butcher, Maksimov and Koch, which combined for seven points. “They brought a lot of energy and their compete level was high tonight so it was nice to see them get rewarded with points.”
Davis Koch interview from Oilers.com.