2015 Canucks Young Stars tournament finale recap – Details

2015 Canucks Young Stars tournament finale recap

The Young Stars tournament has come to a close for 2015 with the Canucks prospects finishing with a 2-1 record.

Jake Virtanen scored on a breakaway in overtime Monday to lift the Vancouver Canucks’ prospects to a 3-2 triumph over their Calgary Flames counterparts in the final game of the four-team gathering. The victory saw Vancouver finish the tournament with a 2-1 record.

The 2014 first-round pick finished off a frenetic extra period of three-on-three hockey on a great individual effort, poking the puck to himself into space in the neutral zone and beating Flames netminder Nick Schneider with a high shot to the blocker side at the 1:47 mark.

“I saw the puck pop out and I knew I could beat them to it,” Virtanen told reporters post-game. “I was happy to get a chance to win it.”

That wrapped up an impressive tournament for the 19-year-old, who made headlines in the Canucks’ opening game for a heavy hit on Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid.

Dane Fox and tryout Rodrigo Abols had the other goals for Vancouver, which battled back from two one-goal deficits to claim the victory.

The microscope will remain squarely on Virtanen when main training camp kicks off in Prince George later this week as the winger fights for a spot on the Canucks roster to start the regular season.

So far, he’s lived up to the expectations of Canucks general manager Jim Benning, who singled out Virtanen as one of the players he was impressed with when meeting with the media in Penticton midway through Monday’s game.

Benning also noted that he thought defenceman Ben Hutton and forwards Jared McCann and Brendan Gaunce had strong tournaments, telling reporters that Gaunce was given the day off Monday as a reward for his strong play.

The Canucks’ first preseason game is now less than a week away, as they’ll face the San Jose Sharks at the Q Centre in Colwood next Monday. The same teams then face-off at Rogers Arena the following night.