September 22, 2017 11:45 pm
Updated: September 23, 2017 1:13 am

Yamamoto strikes twice as Edmonton Oilers down Vancouver Canucks

Vancouver Canucks' goalie Richard Bachman (32) makes the save on Edmonton Oilers' Kailer Yamamoto (56) during second period pre-season NHL action in Edmonton, Alta., on Friday September 22, 2017.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
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Iiro Pakarinen and Kailer Yamamoto each scored twice as the Edmonton Oilers downed the Vancouver Canucks 5-3 Friday night in NHL pre-season action at Rogers Place.

“In practice I definitely try to make sure I get those on net,” Yamamoto said. “Shoot in on the net, anything can happen.”

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Yamamoto, taken 22nd overall by the Oilers in the 2017 draft, has four goals in three pre-season games.

“We knew we had a highly skilled and intelligent player coming in,” head coach Todd McLellan explained when asked how big of a surprise Yamamoto has been so far this pre-season. “I think the more structured the game gets, the bigger he plays. He can anticipate where players are and he plays better with higher-end players.

“As camp dwindles down, we expect him to get even better. He continues to push for a spot.”

Michael Carcone opened the scoring on a Canucks power play, ripping a shot over Laurent Brossoit’s glove at 13:17 in the first. Leon Draisaitl tied it with a breakaway strike with 35.1 seconds left in the first.

Yamamoto buried a pass from Chris Kelly 5:17 into the second period. Iiro Pakarinen converted a shorthanded two-on-one about four minutes later to give the Oilers a 3-1 advantage.

“I’m happy for Pakarinen. He had a tough year last year. He knows he’s competing for ice time and he showed up and competed really hard,” McLellan said. “The two goals were great, but playing hard all over the rink, getting pucks in and out when he needs to, the battle on the penalty kill, those things were all noticed as well.”

Anton Rodin pulled Vancouver within a goal 4:03 into the third, but Pakarinen drilled another one past Richard Bachman just 38 seconds later. Yamamoto added a power play goal with 7:22 to go, converting a goalmouth feed from Draisaitl. Jalen Chatfield netted a late goal for the Canucks.

The Oilers improve to 4-0 in the pre-season. They’ll host Winnipeg Saturday night.

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