Calgary, AB – Team Orr scored a 4-3 victory over Team Cherry in the
2014 BMO CHL / NHL Top Prospects Game on Wednesday night before a crowd
of 11,631 at the Saddledome in Calgary, AB.
Jared McCann of the
Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds broke a 3-3 deadlock 16:31 into the third
period, ripping a shot past Plymouth Whalers’ netminder Alex Nedeljkovic
to give Team Orr a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
“Kind of a
storybook ending,” said McCann, who took home Jim Gregory Player of the
Game honours for Team Orr with his game-winning effort. “I was just
excited to come here and play my game tonight, and I think I did that.”
Brendan Lemieux of the Barrie Colts, Blake Clarke of the Saginaw Spirit
also scored for Team Cherry while Josh Ho-Sang of the Windsor Spitfires
had a goal and an assist. Kootenay Ice forward Sam Reinhart and
Nikolay Goldobin of the Sarnia Sting each picked up a goal and an assist
for Team Cherry, who also got a marker from Michael Dal Colle of the
Oshawa Generals in what was a hard-played, physical and temperamental
“It was another great hockey experience,” said Team Orr
captain Aaron Ekblad, who tallied a pair of assists in the win.
“There’s an intensity with showing your stuff, and no one wants to be
embarrassed out there.”
A scoreless first period wasn’t without
its share of action and scoring chances. Mason McDonald of the
Charlottetown Islanders had to be particularly sharp early for Team Orr,
getting across to stop a one-timer from Red Deer’s Conner Bleackley off
a 2-on-1 chance less than two minutes in.
Reinhart also had some golden opportunities in the opening frame, ringing a shot off the post.
“It was a good experience…It’s definitely an important one to play well
in,” said Reinhart. “It is just one game, and now I’m sure guys will
focus and hopefully carry over that confidence to their Club teams.”
Prince George’s Ty Edmonds may not have faced as much work in the
first, but still came up with key stops on Brendan Perlini of the
Niagara Ice Dogs and Calgary’s Jake Virtanen.
The goals didn’t
come until midway through the second frame. Lemieux opened the scoring
on a Team Orr power play. After Aaron Ekblad and Leon Draisaitl hit the
post in quick succession, the puck came back to Julius Honka at the
point, and his shot hit Lemieux in front of the net and trickled past
Before the goal announcement could even be made, however, Team Cherry
tied it up. Off the ensuing faceoff, Dal Colle scored on the rush,
firing home a perfectly placed wrist shot just eight seconds after the
Team Orr converted yet another power play chance,
with Clarke firing home a quick wrist shot that beat Nedeljkovic on the
short side right under the crossbar.
Team Cherry nearly tied it
shortly after, but Dal Colle, gunning for his second of the period,
rang his hard shot off the crossbar.
Team Orr immediately took
the puck the other way and Josh Ho-Sang put them up by two, showing good
hand-eye coordination as he batted the puck in out of mid-air after
Brayden Point’s shot attempt tipped off the defender’s stick.
Team Cherry pulled within one goal early in the third frame as Sarnia
Sting forward Nikolay Goldobin scored on a wraparound 4:07 in.
“I’m pretty happy, but I can play better,” said Goldobin, who was Team
Cherry’s Jim Gregory Player of the Game Award recipient. “You get the
best players in the CHL, and it’s a fun experience.”
Cherry knotted the game at 3-3 with six minutes to go, courtesy of a
power play marker from their captain. Reinhart banged home a perfect
cross-crease pass from Goldobin after some good pressure in Team Orr’s
The deadlock wouldn’t last though as Team Orr responded
just 2:38 later as McCann of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds ripped a
shot past Nedeljkovic.
GAME NOTES: Goaltender Ty Edmonds made
16 saves on 17 shots through the first half of the game for Team Cherry,
while Alex Nedeljkovic stopped 13 of 16 shots while taking the
loss…Netminder Mason McDonald made 15 saves on 16 shots through the
first 29:08 of the game, while Julio Billia of the Chicoutimi Sagueneens
made 17 saves on 19 shots, claiming the victory for Team Orr…Billia
stopped Goldobin on a penalty shot attempt 5:29 into the third
period…Julius Honka of the Swift Current Broncos picked up two assists
for Team Orr, but had to leave the game in the third period after taking
a stick to the face…Team Orr finished 2-for-3 on the power play while
Team Cherry was 1-for-3 on the man advantage....Final shots on goal were
35-33 in favour of Team Cherry....This was just the fourth time in the
19-year history of the Top Prospects Game where the final score had a
one-goal differential.....This marks the fourth straight victory for
Team Orr who wins the Don Cherry/Bobby Orr Trophy.
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)