RECAP: Blue 6, White 4 (Billy Moores Cup)
Khaira and Yakimov steal the show, Team Blue wins the second-annual Billy Moores Cup
JASPER, AB - 2013 third-round choice (83rd overall) Bogdan Yakimov was one of a few Edmonton Oilers prospects to have a solid night as Team Blue would escape Jasper Arena with a 6-4 victory in the second annual Billy Moores Cup.
The hulking 6-foot-5 Yakimov showed off some of his skill with a nifty pass out in front to 2014 sixth-round selection Tyler Vesel, who tapped it in to give Team Blue a 1-0 lead early in the second period.
The Russian centre Yakimov made an impression on his teammates, including one who had a strong game of his own.
“He played really well tonight, just from what I saw,” Jujhar Khaira said. “I haven’t seen him play much but today I saw that he has great vision, he’s fast and he drives to the net. He has the keys to be a great player and I’m pretty excited to see what he’ll turn out to be.”
Vesel had a great season in the USHL this year, scoring 71 points (33-38-71) in 49 games with the Omaha Lancers.
Team White tied things up when Khaira banked a shot off a defenceman’s stick and in past goalie Ty Rimmer. Khaira is another big Oilers prospect. The third-round pick (63rd overall) in 2012 is 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds. He’d set up another Team White goal later in the game.
Former University of North Dakota Captain Dillon Simpson scored Team White’s go-ahead goal midway through the second period. Simpson crashed the net and tipped in a rebound off a shot by Jackson Houck. White took the 2-1 lead.
Yakimov continued his strong Billy Moores Cup when he set up John McCarron for Blue’s game-tying goal on a very similar play to his first assist.
“It was a good game with many dangerous shots for my team,” said Yakimov, who finished the game with three points (1-2-3). “It was a good speed and I liked it. I hadn’t practiced before camp so I’m not (in game condition). I need to work on it after camp in Edmonton with the coaches. I think it will be good.”
Kyle Platzer responded for White less than a minute into the third period, putting his team up 3-2 courtesy of a feed from Khaira.
Yakimov fired a shot top-shelf for his first goal of the game to tie the game at three just moments later. Yakimov finished the 2013-14 season in the KHL with Nizhnekamsk Neftekhimik. He signed his three-year entry level contract in May and is set to begin his North American hockey career this season.
“It was normal,” Yakimov said of his game. “It was good but I haven’t practiced before camp. (There were) bad passes, bad skating. I’m not in game condition. But it was a normal game.”
Team Blue took the 4-3 lead shortly after the Yakimov goal when camp invite Colin Markison flew in from the right wing and beat goaltender Keven Bouchard high.
Blue continued their rampage with 4:24 left in the third period. Greg Chase beat Bouchard to give Blue the 5-3 lead and their third-straight goal.
After a long stay in the offensive-zone, Khaira finally struck back for Team White with just over a minute remaining in the game to pull it within one.
Vesel put home the empty netter however and Blue would skate away with the 6-4 victory.
After the game the prospects took part in a five-shooter shootout where Khaira scored an unbelievable one-handed goal. Khaira finished the game with two goals and an assist, plus that highlight-reel shootout tally.
“I thought I played well,” he said. “It’s early in the summer for everybody so not everybody is 100% right now and not everybody is in skating shape but training camp is the big camp and the one where I need to make an impression.”