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.
Curtis Hamilton scored 16 seconds into the fourth overtime period, lifting Oklahoma City to a 2-1 win over Utica in game one of their Western Conference Semi Final series.
Richard Bachman made 56 saves for the Barons, and Jacob Markstrom made 65 saves for Utica. The game lasted 120 minutes and 16 seconds, as the sixth longest game in AHL history.
Mitch Moroz nearly potted his first of the playoffs in a scoreless first period, however, the goal was waved off by officials due to a hand pass.
Utica’s Kent Huskins scored at 17:10 of the opening frame for the 1-0 lead. Huskins has played over 300 NHL games and won a Stanley Cup with Anaheim in 2007.
Although the Barons doubled up the Comets in shots during the opening period, 14-7, they trailed heading into the first intermission.
Kellen Jones, a seventh-round pick of the Oilers in 2010, scored the Barons first of the game at 4:13 of the second. Jones showed great finish, burying a breakaway chance to draw OKC even with the Comets.
The Barons put up 40 shots in regulation, but couldn’t solve Utica goaltender Jacob Markstrom again to end things early. The game went to overtime.
8:10 into overtime, Andrew Miller had a great power play chance to end the game, alone in front of the net, but was denied by Markstrom.
With 7:11 remaining in OT, Kellen Jones’ backhand try was stopped by a brilliant save by Markstrom.
Utica outshot the Barons 11-8 in the first overtime period as the game stayed knotted at one.
Double overtime meant it became the longest game in Barons history.
The Comets had a glorious opportunity in that period to take the win, as Matthew Ford was whistled for hooking at 17:14. However, the Barons killed off that penalty and a third overtime was necessary.
The first five minutes of triple overtime belonged to the Barons, who had numerous opportunities to end the game. That included a long shift, in which they hemmed the Comets in their zone.
Brandon Davidson took a high-sticking call at 9:22 of the third overtime, giving Utica another opportunity to close it out. To that point, OKC had outshot the Comets by a 6-0 margin in that period. One again, the Barons were able to kill off the Comets man advantage.
The Barons ensuing power play went by without a goal as well, despite a big chance by Ford in deep.
With under 4:30 to play in the third overtime, Bachman turned away a 2-on-1 drive to keep the Barons alive. And again, the game needed more time.
Hamilton, chosen 48th overall by the Oilers in 2010, spun around and whipped a shot on net that found twine just 16 seconds into the fourth overtime period to lift OKC to victory.
Game two is on Friday, in Utica at 5 p.m. MDT.
Team Canada Head Coach Todd McLellan has had a chance to watch two of the Oilers most talented players in action at the 2015 IIHF World Hockey Championship in Prague, Czech Republic.
The Edmonton Sun caught up with McLellan at Worlds and he had some positive things to say about the talent already on the roster and the additions and changes to their front office. Bob Nicholson coming in as CEO and Peter Chiarelli as President of Hockey Operations and General Manager are two of those changes that McLellan approves of. And of course, winning the lottery in a year with two franchise talents at the top of the draft is always a plus.
“It’s a team with a rich history and they have some good players there,” McLellan told the Edmonton Sun. “Now you add in (top-ranked 2015 draft prospect Connor) McDavid, Bob taking over and Peter coming in. I really do think there were good people there before. What job descriptions they end up in, I’m not sure. But there will be a very strong team and group of people there.”
Canada takes on Sweden today at 12:15 p.m. MDT.
Leon Draisaitl and the Kelowna Rockets are WHL Western Conference Champions after an 8-4 win over the Portland Winterhawks in game six. They will now face the Brandon Wheat Kings for the title.
The Winterhawks didn’t make it easy on the Rockets. Portland took a 3-0 lead in the first period, courtesy of two goals by Chase DeLeo and one by Adam Henry.
Kelowna scored the game’s next four with Draisaitl, the third-overall pick by the Oilers in the 2014 draft, recording an assist on Madison Bowey’s shorthanded goal at 12:18 of the second period.
Portland drew even with Kelowna at 8:12 of the third, but the Rockets scored four more in the game’s final 10:35, including two empty-netters.
Draisaitl has 21 points (6-15-21) in 15 games these playoffs.
Top-ranked draft prospect Connor McDavid had five points in a 7-3 win as the Erie Otters closed out their series with Darnell Nurse and Sault Ste. Marie in six games.
Nurse, chosen seventh overall in 2013 by the Oilers, finished with a goal for the Greyhounds. McDavid, NHL Central Scouting’s top-ranked North American skater, had a goal and four assists.
Nick Betz put Erie on top with a redirection at 2:49 of the first period.
Sault Ste. Marie rallied for two-straight goals, including a terrific shot by Jared McCann through traffic, at 8:45 of the opening period. That goal came on a 5-on-3 power play.
Jake Marchment scored the equalizer, coming out of the penalty box. Marchment’s shot went in off the crossbar, at 10:12 of the first.
McDavid dished the puck with a backhanded pass to Alex DeBrincat who scored to give Erie a 3-2 lead at 8:46 of the second, on the power play.
McDavid scored on the power play as well, with a nice wraparound at 10:19 of the middle frame.
Nurse scored a big goal to draw Sault Ste. Marie within one again, with a fluttering shot from the point at 4:04 of the third period.
Unfortunately for Nurse and the Greyhounds, Erie would score the game’s final three goals.
Nicholas Baptiste put away a power play goal at 11:53 of the third.
DeBrincat finished off a nice tic-tac-toe play at 14:32 and he scored an empty-netter at 17:08.
The Oilers announced the hiring of Peter Chiarelli as President of Hockey Operations and General Manager on April 24. Until now, it was unknown what former GM Craig MacTavish’s next move would be or if he would stay on with the Oilers.
Chiarelli, who is in Prague for the 2015 IIHF World Hockey Championship, confirmed to media that MacTavish would stay on his staff.
“He’ll be the No. 2 guy,” Chiarelli said, per the Edmonton Sun.
Chiarelli says he hasn’t settled on a title yet, but it is clear that he wants MacTavish on board.
“He’ll be my eyes and ears in all areas,” said Chiarelli.
“I want to have strong people with strong opinions.”
Chiarelli said MacTavish was upset at first, but the new hockey ops boss wanted to reach out and discuss options moving forward. Ultimately, MacTavish agreed to stay.
“I explained how much I’d like to have him in the mix and I’m glad he’s come around and decided to stay with us,” said Chiarelli.
The Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds avoided elimination and forced game six with a 4-2 win over the Erie Otters.
Nicholas Baptiste opened scoring at 2:06 of the first period, giving Erie a 1-0 lead. A turnover right out in front of Sault Ste. Marie goaltender Brandon Halverson led to that score.
The Greyhounds responded, on the power play, at 12:09 of the same period. Jared McCann’s one-timer found twine, assisted by Anthony DeAngelo and Sergey Tolchinsky.
A scoreless second period followed.
A turnover in the neutral zone gave the Greyhounds a 3-on-1 rush. Michael Bunting put it away, at 3:36 of the third to put Sault Ste. Marie up 2-1.
Travis Dermott tied the game for Erie at 5:13 of the third.
It was Bryan Moore who broke the tie and scored the winner, at 12:55. Moore came down the ice from his own blueline and picked the corner behind Devin Williams.
Gabe Guertler buried an empty-netter at 19:58 to put the icing on the cake.
Oilers prospect Darnell Nurse finished the game +1, with no points. Top-ranked draft prospect Connor McDavid had an assist on the Dermott goal.
Game six of the OHL Western Conference Final takes place in Erie on Saturday. Game six is on Sportsnet 360.