It was a rough first NHL shift Wednesday night for Jalen Chatfield, but the Canucks defenceman bounced back nicely.
After being flattened in the corner by Tanner Glass on a sequence that led to the veteran opening the scoring for Calgary, Chatfield led the comeback with a goal and two assists as Vancouver scored four unanswered goals for a 5-3 pre-season victory over the Flames.
"He finished me pretty good," said Chatfield with a smile. "But I loved it. It was like welcome to the league. I just tried to shake that off and move on and I think that's what I did."
Chatfield was signed by Vancouver last March as a free agent after playing three junior seasons with the OHL's Windsor Spitfires, who last year won the Memorial Cup.
After sitting out the Canucks first two pre-season games, he finally got his chance to draw in and he took full advantage.
"This was honestly like a dream. To step on the ice in an NHL jersey in an NHL building, I had so much fun out there," said the 21-year-old Chatfield.
Holding down the fort
The Canucks roster was comprised almost entirely of prospects with all the club's veterans at the 2017 NHL China Games exhibition with the Los Angeles Kings.
"A lot of energy and every time I see [Chatfield] play, he scores," said AHL Utica head coach Trent Cull, who was running the bench in the absence of Travis Green. "He seems like a kid, if I get a chance to coach him, I'll be excited to have him."
Anton Rodin, Brock Boeser, Nikolay Goldobin and Jake Virtanen also scored for Vancouver (2-1-0).
Glass, Ryan Lomberg and Mark Jankowski scored for Calgary (0-3-0). The Flames also dressed a young lineup but it did feature veterans such as Mikael Backlund, Michael Frolik and Kris Versteeg.
Vancouver railed 3-1 after the first but tied it in the second on goals by Boeser and Goldobin. Chatfield helped set up both.
The Canucks took the lead at 17:08 when Virtanen slipped around Brett Kulak, took the puck to the net and beat Jon Gillies short-side with a perfect shot over his shoulder.
After playing 55 games with Vancouver in his rookie season two years ago, Virtanen spend most of last year in the AHL, only getting into 10 games with the Canucks.
"I'm having a blast going out there. Especially with all the other guys in China, it's giving a lot younger guys an opportunity," said Virtanen. "I just have to keep on going everyday and show that I belong in the NHL."