An impressive third period, as well as a three-point performance from forward Chad Butcher, propelled the Edmonton Oilers rookies to a 4-2 win over the Flames rookies Friday.
After a scoreless opening frame, Flames defenceman Juuso Valimaki kicked off the scoring about two minutes into the second period. Chad Butcher responded with his first goal of the night minutes later, but Calgary struck again with a minute remaining to make it 2-1 heading into the final 20 minutes.
Right off the bat in the third, the Oilers rallied for three goals in a span of two minutes and five seconds. Butcher struck again to even the score, and then Evan Polei scored off a deflection of Ryan Mantha’s point shot. After that, Butcher set up Kirill Maksimov for another goal, and the Oilers finished with the 4-2 win.
Key to Success
There was great communication, and it was evident by the chemistry on the ice. Everyone seemed in sync with each other, and this was most evident from the David Koch-Butcher-Maksimov line. The trio combined for an impressive seven points and made the biggest impact on the ice.
Dylan Wells was also outstanding in goal, stopping 26 of 28 shots. He also told the media post-game that communicating with the defence was key and that the blueliners helped prevent a lot of opportunities in front.
Though Yamamoto didn’t record a point, he played a very competitive game and was an aggressive and prominent presence on the ice. Not only did he make himself known, but he showed great speed and ability. He is definitely someone to keep an eye on, as he still has a lot of time to show what he’s capable of.
Ryan Mantha also made a huge impact on the backend and was by far the best defenceman on the ice. The 6-foot-5, 225-pound defenceman was physical and aggressive and played a strong game at both ends of the rink. He finished with two helpers and didn’t shy away from shooting the puck or getting involved in the rush. If he can continue to show his offensive acumen, the right-handed defender has nothing but a promising future in Edmonton ahead of him.
On the forward lines, the two biggest names that stood out were obviously Maksimov and Butcher. Maksimov finished with a goal and a helper, but Butcher was the true hero, with two tallies and an assist. Not only was the key in the team’s victory, but he was quick with the puck and played a strong game, fueled by knowledge and scoring ability. In addition, he showed great poise and didn’t fail to impress.
Edmonton will face the Winnipeg Jets Saturday at 8:30 p.m. MT in Penticton, where the rookies will continue to show their worth.