Top prospects: Five players who earned points

LANGLEY, BC – The hundreds of NHL scouts and managers who made the trip to the picturesque town of Langley were well served.

This match of the CHL/NHL’s top prospects had just about everything: big saves, great goals, lots and lots of big checks, scuffles, intensity and a surprising cohesion between players from the country’s three leagues.

READ ALSO: Best hopes: Tough evening for Connor Bedard

All that was missing was a spectacular game from Connor Bedard, and everything would have been perfect. Blanched, the young prodigy had a difficult evening, but others took advantage of his relative discretion to attract the spotlight.

Here are five players who stood out from the game:

Gracyn Sawchyn, A – Seattle Thunderbirds (42nd AN)
Record in the game: 0-0-0, minus-1, 3 shots

It’s a safe bet that Sawchyn hasn’t received the same attention as the headliners of this match in the final days. He went to great lengths to make sure he caught the eye when it mattered. Without being rewarded with points, the attacker went there with a whole demonstration of his range of tools.

He first generated many scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates, in addition to working very hard. He handed out the shoulder shots throughout the game and fought for every puck. It definitely got a star in its notebook.

Scott Ratzlaff, G – Seattle Thunderbirds (6th AN)
Record in the game: 24 saves on 25 shots

No one wants to see a goalie duel in a game that features the best players in the country, but Ratzlaff and his opposite number Carson Bjarnason (1st YR) decided otherwise. The two Cerberus could have ended up in this top-5, but we opted for the busier of the two instead.

He also gained points by frustrating a certain Connor Bedard four times, the last time on the best opportunity of the young prodigy – a perfect pass which he deflected when he was alone in front of the net. Ratzlaff also stopped Riley Heidt from scoring on a « Michigan » attempt.

Luca Pinelli, A – Ottawa 67’s (49th AN)
Record in the game: 1-0-1, +/- 0, 5 shots

Seeing the way Pinelli had worked in the first 40 minutes of the match, you could feel that the reward was going to come eventually. It happened in the final period when the striker received a nice pass to the circle and hit the target with a sharp wrist shot.

Playing with a lot of energy and creativity in the offensive zone, he also demonstrated his efficiency in transition play. He seemed to take pleasure in transporting the disc in the neutral zone and surprising opposing defenders at the entrance to the zone.

Étienne Morin, D – Moncton Wildcats (24th AN)
Record in the game: 0-0-0, +/- 0, 2 shots

The Quebec defender had a rather difficult first appearance, which did not bode well for the rest of the game. However, he quickly regained the composure that we know him with the Wildcats to shine on the blue line of the Reds team.

Alongside Cam Allen, another defenseman with good offensive instincts, Morin was very solid and was able to highlight his excellent skating. He rarely made bad decisions and took advantage of every small opening to support the attack skillfully.

Kalan Lind, A – Red Deer Rebels (23rd AN)
Record in the game: 0-0-0, +1, 1 shot, 5 penalty minutes

If this encounter was rated as very robust by most players, it’s probably because Lind put his two cents into it. The pugnacious attacker found himself at the center of several scrums and did not hesitate to attempt – and succeed – big checks.

He managed to disturb the adversary, which forced him to account. Alex Pharand, a 6-foot-3, 206-pound colossus, offered to waltz with him and the 6-foot, 158-pound skater didn’t turn down the invitation. We knew he was surly, we now know he’s not afraid of anything.

Honorable mentions

Oliver Bonk, D – London Knights (18th AN)
Record in the match: 0-0-0, +1

He managed to get into Connor Bedard’s head by freaking him out. Mission accomplished.

Carson Rehkopf, A – Kitchener Rangers (31st AN)
Record in the game: 1-1-2, +2, 1 shot

Rather discreet in the first 40 minutes, he scored a goal and an assist in the third period.

Tanner Molendyk, D – Saskatoon Blazers (36th AN)
Record in the game: 0-1-1, +1, 1 shot

Very effective in transition play, he deprived the Reds of precious time in offensive territory.

Laisser un commentaire