A shorthanded goal at 2:08 of the third period gave the Quebec Remparts 3-1 lead. Although it got tight at the end, they eventually beat Leon Draisaitl and the Kelowna Rockets, 4-3 in the opening game of the 2015 Memorial Cup.
Nikolas Brouillard opened scoring at 5:18 of the first for Quebec.
Matt Murphy gave the Remparts a 2-0 lead with a point shot that snuck past Jackson Whistle at 13:22 of the second. Oilers 2013 second-round pick Marc-Olivier Roy got the second assist on the goal.
Kelowna drew within one at 17:56 of the middle frame as Cole Linaker dished the puck in front of the net and Nick Merkley put it away, shorthanded.
The Remparts responded with a shorthanded goal of their own. Anthony Duclair had a breakaway and the rebound from his shot was buried by Ryan Graves.
Kelowna again responded, scoring on the power play at 12:43 of the third.
An empty-bet goal by Quebec’s Adam Erne gave the host team a 4-2 lead.
Draisaitl, the Oilers fourth-overall pick in 2014, scored backdoor with 36 seconds remaining in the game to draw within one, but Kelowna could not find the equalizer.
The Remparts face Oshawa on Sunday and the Rockets play Rimouski on Monday.
There is no doubt that Todd McLellan brings experience and name recognition to the Oilers organization. The long-time coach has worked his way up through the hockey ranks, with stops in the SJHL, WHL, IHL and AHL on his way to the NHL as an assistant and head coach.
His winning record (311-163-66) as the bench boss in San Jose the past seven seasons is also a plus. But Oilers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Peter Chiarelli spoke more specifically about McLellan, following the hiring announcement. McLellan becomes the 14th coach in Oilers franchise history.
“Todd brings with him a wealth of experience, a level of energy and intellect I haven’t seen in a long time,” Chiarelli said. “He’s been a coach for a number of years, most recently a couple of days ago where he won the gold medal with Team Canada over in Prague. I had a chance to meet with him over there and talk at length on a number of different levels. I’m very impressed with him, meeting him face to face. I had been very impressed with his teams over the years in the NHL with Detroit and with San Jose.”
When Chiarelli came to Edmonton, he spoke about wanting the Oilers to play harder. That doesn’t necessarily mean getting bigger or more physical, and Chiarelli feels McLellan gets that.
“We talked a couple of weeks ago at my press conference about different ways of playing hard, rather than switching out a whole team’s roster. Both those teams in Detroit and San Jose, you look at them and how they play, the personnel, and they know how to play hard. Todd is one of the main reasons for that, instilling a level of confidence, energy and discipline into these players,” said Chiarelli.
Chiarelli says McLellan was the top target for the Oilers.
“His level of energy and his level of thinking really impressed me,” said Chiarelli. “If you look at him behind the bench, he’s active. I think he’s a terrific bench manager. A lot of reasons. My time in Boston, we didn’t play the Sharks a lot, but whenever we played them they were hard games, they were games where adjustments would be made all the time. They were heavy on the puck and he really looked like he enjoyed coaching. A number of those reasons helped me make my decision in choosing Todd.”
The Oilers have had five head coaches since the start of the 2009-10 season. Stability is something the Edmonton organization would like to have with Todd McLellan, who was announced as the 14th head coach in franchise history on Tuesday.
McLellan most recently coached seven seasons in San Jose, posting a record of 311-163-66 in 540 games. Six of those seven seasons, McLellan and the Sharks made the playoffs. His record indicates that he could be a more long-term fixture for the Oilers.
Oilers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Peter Chiarelli talked about stability at that position and all that goes into developing a long-term relationship.
“By no means, is there a perfect amount of time for a coach. I think from a consistent messaging viewpoint, that’s important,” said Chiarelli. “In delivering your message and from a coaching perspective, he’s the main messenger and I think to have it over time, with more or less the same group, you’ll see it reaps tremendous rewards. Having said all that, there’s a lot of stuff in between. Not just having a stable coach for a certain number of years. You have to work well together, you have to have a plan and it has to be laid out and executed. Todd’s one of the top coaches in the league and we’re fortunate to have him here.”
Prior to San Jose, McLellan coached the Swift Current Broncos in the WHL, the IHL’s Cleveland Lumberjacks and the Houston Aeros in the AHL. He was also an assistant in Detroit for three seasons.
“Todd brings with him a wealth of experience, a level of energy and intellect I haven’t seen in a long time,” said Chiarelli.
The search was a relatively short timeline from start to finish. The Oilers season ended on April 11, and on the 20th Todd McLellan and the San Jose Sharks mutually parted ways after seven seasons. Now, one month later, McLellan has found his new home in Edmonton.
Oilers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Peter Chiarelli didn’t waste any time in meeting with McLellan following the season. Chiarelli knew the free agent coach would be sought after for multiple vacancies around the league. So Chiarelli, trying to get a head start on the competition, got on a plane and travelled to the Czech Republic to meet with McLellan, who was coaching Team Canada at the IIHF Men’s Hockey World Championship.
“It happened fairly quickly, as far as trying to set something up,” said Chiarelli. “We wanted to get ahead of it with Todd. I went over to Prague and we spent three or four hours on a number of different things. I had a fairly exhaustive checklist to go through with him and he had a lot of questions for me. We felt it was a better time in the tournament, earlier on. The competition, the pace, the daily schedule grind wasn’t quite up to speed yet. It was a good time to do it. I knew there would be a lot of teams that would want to talk to Todd so I wanted to be kind of first in to let him digest it and get to know me and what we’re about here and what we’re trying to do here. Timing and opportunity was good and the fact that he had the time was good too. He’s the guy we wanted and wanted to get on to in a hurry.”
The 2015 Worlds ended on Sunday, with McLellan and Canada taking home gold and finishing 10-0 in the tournament. Barely off the plane from Prague, McLellan was announced as the 14th coach in Oilers franchise history, concluding the short hiring process.
The American Hockey League has announced approval for their new alignment for the 2015-16 season.
The Western Conference’s Pacific Division will be the home of Bakersfield, the Oilers affiliate. They will compete against fellow Pacific Division teams; the Ontario Reign, San Antonio Rampage, San Diego Gulls, San Jose Barracuda, Stockton Heat and the Texas Stars.
The format for the 2016 Calder Cup Playoffs will be finalized at the Board of Governors annual meeting in July.
Bakersfield will become the Oilers primary development team, starting next season.
Playing in relief of Laurent Brossoit in game two against San Antonio, Richard Bachman was on point. The Barons goaltender stopped all 16 shots as Oklahoma City rallied for the win, pushing the Rampage to the brink of elimination.
Bachman stopped 35 of 36 in game three, as the Barons advanced to the Western Conference Semifinals of the Calder Cup playoffs.
Again, Bachman was sensational. The netminder made 56 saves as the Barons and Utica Comets went through three full overtime periods before Curtis Hamilton potted the winner 16 seconds into the fourth.
Despite losing to Utica in overtime, 2-1 in game two, Bachman gave them a chance with 36 saves.
“He’s amazing back there,” said Barons forward Connor Jones. “He’s calm, he’s cool and he’s made some incredible saves. Like in game three against San Antonio, he made some big saves. Same as game two. When we’ve made mistakes, he’s been there to back (us up) and you can’t say enough about him.”
The Barons goaltender is leading the AHL with a .84 GAA and .973 save percentage this post-season.
Bachman says his performance is a result of multiple factors, but one is the confidence he gained from a call-up with the Oilers.
“I think it’s a number of different things. I’ve had some pretty good confidence from the time spent up in Edmonton at the end of the year there, to bring that back down with me,” said Bachman. “Part of it is seeing the puck well and a lot of it goes to our defence and our forwards. They’re blocking shots and letting me see the puck and really battling hard in front of the net for me.”
Bachman played six games with the Oilers this season, posting a 2.84 GAA and .911 save percentage. He finished his time in Edmonton with three-straight wins, making 83 saves on 86 shots in that span.
Bachman is expected to start tonight in game three against Utica, in Oklahoma City.
It was a battle that a lot of people around the hockey community were eager to watch— Oilers prospect Darnell Nurse and the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds against Connor McDavid and the Erie Otters.
Nurse played huge minutes against the Otters, drawing some big responsibilities. Unfortunately, the Greyhounds lost to the Otters, 4-2 in the Ontario Hockey League Western Conference Final.
McDavid is the OHL playoffs’ leading scorer with a whopping 43 points (19-24-43) in 17 games. He’s NHL Central Scouting’s top-ranked North American skater ahead of the 2015 NHL Draft. Nurse says, after playing him, the hype is deserved.
“Obviously, he has a lot of hype but it’s something that he’s earned,” said Nurse. “Obviously, he’s such a great player. He showed in our series the way he’s able to make plays. He’s a special player. It was good to play against him. It was a good challenge for myself and it was good just to go out there and play and have a lot of fun.”
Erie is down 2-0 in their OHL Final best-of-seven series against the Oshawa Generals.
Nurse is in Oklahoma City with the Barons for the Calder Cup Playoffs. OKC takes on Utica in game three of the Western Conference Semifinal on Monday. The series is currently tied 1-1.
Oilers prospect Leon Draisaitl and the Kelowna Rockets were able to hang on to their one-goal lead in the third period, on the way to a 4-3 win over Brandon in game one of the Western Hockey League Final.
Draisaitl, taken third overall in 2014, finished the game +2 with a goal. His score came at 18:50 of the second period, proving to be the game-winner.
Tyson Baillie, Justin Kirkland and Chance Braid also scored for Kelowna. Rihards Bukarts (2) and Peter Quenneville both scored for Brandon.
Kelowna outshot the Wheat Kings 40-28.
Game two is on Saturday, in Brandon.
In game one of the Ontario Hockey League Final, the Erie Otters were overwhelmed by the Oshawa Generals, 4-1.
Top-ranked 2015 draft prospect Connor McDavid was -2 with an assist and two penalty minutes.
The Generals had a 2-0 lead in the second period when Remi Elie scored on the power play, assisted by McDavid and Travis Dermott.
The Generals outshot the Otters 12-5 in the third period and 31-19 for the game.
Hunter Smith scored the insurance goal at 17:39 of the final frame to give Oshawa to a 4-1 lead.
Despite a first-period lead and another outstanding performance by Richard Bachman in net, the Oklahoma City Barons came out on the losing end of a 2-1 decision to the Utica Comets.
The series is now split at one game a piece and will transition to Oklahoma City for games three, four and five.
Kellen Jones fed his twin brother, Connor, for the game’s opening goal. Connor Jones potted his third of the playoffs at 8:50 of the first period for the 1-0 OKC lead.
Barons goaltender Richard Bachman was hot early and made some big saves in the second period.
Unfortunately, his efforts were spoiled in the third with Adam Clendening’s shot getting deflected in, through traffic, at 1:31 of the third period.
The goal snapped Bachman’s shutout streak at 144 minutes and 37 seconds, dating back to game one.
To close out the third period, Bachman was run into as Wacey Hamilton was hauled down in front, while crashing the net. Bachman made the save but was shaken up with 1.8 seconds left. He’d stay in until the finish.
Utica’s Alexandre Grenier tipped the puck past Bachman at 3:32 of overtime to even the series.
Bachman made 36 saves in the loss.
Game three is Monday, at 7 p.m. CDT in Oklahoma City.