There was a gentleman in the crowd at the Vancouver Canucks vs the Edmonton Oilers game on Saturday, October 30 holding up a sign that read, “CELEBRATING 1 YEAR CANCER FREE! THANKS FOR THE STRONG WORDS LAST YEAR KASSIAN.” Zack Kassian currently plays for the Oilers and previously played for the Canucks, and so I’m guessing everyone on the ice was proud of him for what he did to help that fan – even when he checked one of his former teammates into the boards early on in the first period.
We watched the game with my parents, and after Nils Höglander (Vancouver) got hit in the chin, and Juho Lammikko (Vancouver) got hit in the mouth, and Elias Pettersson (Vancouver) got hit in the pants, my mom was very unhappy that none of the players were wearing face cages or had anything covering their ears, and she was also concerned that her grandson (my ten-year-old) would not grow tall enough to be in the NHL (unrelated but still on her mind).
Vancouver’s Tyler Myers got a penalty for hooking, but since it looked more like enthusiastic skating and less like hooking to me, I didn’t think it should be counted on his stats.
The Oilers used the power play to do their own enthusiastic skating and Warren Foegele got a goal, assisted by Evan Bouchard and Darnell Nurse (fun fact: his teammates call “Doc”). Regardless of the goal, Vancouver’s goalie, Thatcher Demko – who just got engaged! – did an awesome job throughout the entire period (and game). By the end of the first, the scoreboard said he blocked 12 shots, but it was more like a million by my count.
The second period was a game of “how many shots can my goalie save?” The Oilers net also got in on the action after an early puck hit both posts without going in. Near the end of the period my mom said generally to the TV, “They need a little chicken soup;” and when I asked why, and she responded, “Because it couldn’t hurt.” They must have filled the Oilers’ water bottles with soup, because after Vancouver’s Oliver Ekman-Larsson went into the penalty box for interfering with Kailer Yamamoto, Connor McDavid passed to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who passed to Leon Draisaitl, who scored for the Oilers.
By the third period, every player had taken the opportunity to shoot a bunch of times, and Demko and Mikko Koskinen (the Oilers goalie) had taken the opportunity to show off what years of practice and getting good nights’ of sleep can do when combined with super-duper goalie skills.
Vancouver pulled the Demko with four minutes to go so that the coach could prove how confident he was in his players. Nurse got a cross-checking penalty right after that, meaning that Vancouver was up two players on the power play. Koskinen did his very best and made a couple of really great saves to run out the power play.
With seconds to go, Vancouver’s Brock Boeser – who used to play for the University of North Dakota with his teammate, Tucker Poolman, and whose dad is going through cancer treatments – took a nice pass from J.T. Miller and scored. The game ended 2-1 in favor of Edmonton, but the most important thing is that both teams had fun.
By Amanda Silverman Kosior | Read another recap here