Young Stars Tournament: Vancouver Canucks vs. San Jose Sharks

Nucks IceManCorrespondent ISeptember 14, 2010

Aaron Volpatti in the middle
Aaron Volpatti in the middle

In the uniforms of these two teams might be the Young Prospects, but they sure resembled the NHL version of them. 

When the NHL San Jose Sharks play against the Canucks, it  is always a physical game with the Sharks attempting to impose their will on the Canucks.

This time it was the young Canucks that were instigating the physical play as Aaron Volpatti and Taylor Ellington continued their strong play.

This Volpatti (6-1, 185 lbs.) is establishing himself as someone that is going to be hard to play against. Although he only played eight games with the Manitoba Moose last season (and five playoff games), it looks like Moose Coach Claude Noel will welcome his return this season.

If Volpatti can continue his scoring (two goals in this game), don’t be surprised to see him on a second or third line in Manitoba.

Another stand-out game.

Another player that has had back-to-back solid games is Matt Fraser as he scored his first goal to stake the Canucks to a 1-0 lead.

Talking about someone that is catching notices, you have to like the way Eddie Lack has played in goal for the young Canucks. This Swedish goaltender played with the Brynas If Gavle of the Swedish Elite League last season along with another Canucks prospect, Anton Rodin.

Lack’s strong play in both games is sure to get him a long look as the No.1 goalie in Manitoba, as the promotion of Cory Schneider to the Canucks leaves a bona-fide opening.

At 6’4”, Lack is strong down low. He demonstrated his mobility to Sharks James Marcou and Philip Varone, robbing Varone of a sure goal in the second period.

Just to make sure that the Sharks took notice, he stopped Philip Varone again on a breakaway.

Check this out: At the 8:52 mark of the second period, Lack had stopped 29 of 30 shots in just over four and a half periods.

I think Manitoba has found their starting goaltender.

Kevin Connaughton and Chris Tanev were the best Canucks defensive pair and Connaughton looks like the best D–prospect since the late Luc Bourdon.

Tanev, who was undrafted, showed his Bobby Orr moves going end to end on a rush and Volpatti was the benefactor of a tap-in goal for his second of the game. Later in the third, Tanev scored on a Canuck power play with a sweet pass from Jordan Schroeder.

Now here’s a player that could be a sleeper, and with tonight’s game looks ahead of Evan Oberg.

This was a much superior showing for the Canucks prospects as Schroeder has started to come on, so maybe this will jump-start his play for the final two games.

One thing about that line of Schroeder, Bill Sweatt and Pierre-Olivier Morin, they can sure fly and their behind the net play in the offensive zone was creating opportunities and problems for the Sharks, but unfortunately no finish.

Leigh Salters for the Sharks is a load in front of net, as his 6-4, 225 lbs. is quite the immovable force. He was voted last season by the OHL coaches as the best body-checker and collected himself a goal for all his hard work.

Best Shark in the game was Nick Schaus with two goals, one goal post and several grade “A” opportunities. This is some talented player.

Overall, this was a much better team outing as the Canucks Young Stars evened their record at one.

Next game is Wednesday against Anaheim and then Thursday against Calgary to finish out the tournament.

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