With so much offensive talent on the ice, it would only make sense that no lead would be safe at the All-American Prospects Game. Team Leopold took what appeared to be a commanding 4-2 lead on Cole Caufield’s second goal of the game with under seven minutes remaining in regulation. But Team Langenbrunner scored four unanswered goals, including the game-tying and game-winning goals 31 seconds apart in the final two minutes of the game to win the game 6-4.
Team Langenbrunner forward Matt Boldy took home Player of the Game honors, netting a pair of goals and assisting on the game-winning goal. Projected top overall NHL draft pick Jack Hughes was credited with a goal and an assist, though his one goal came off an own-goal by the opposing team.
Notes and Thoughts:
-The Main Event here tonight was Jack Hughes, projected to go first overall in this year’s NHL Draft. Technically he scored a goal, though it came off a lost face-off when the other team accidentally shot the puck into their own net. He also had a nice assist in the third period. But even though he didn’t light things up stat-wise, he still had plenty of moments where he showed his incredible skill-level. I had him at four or five good scoring chances created, they just never connected tonight.
Even some of the small plays he makes, for example, kicking a puck up to his skates then quickly deking around a forechecker in a really tight space to break the puck out of the zone are the type of plays even the best in this game just can’t make.
-The best player in the game tonight, however, was Matt Boldy. I’ve gotten the general sense that I’m a bit higher on Boldy as a top draft prospect than most other people, but a performance like tonight should close that gap. He’s such an active high-motor player that is always around the play and making things happen. He maybe doesn’t have some of the flashy skill—though he almost scored the goal of the year with a ridiculous between-the-legs shot that was stopped by the goalie—but he makes things happen out on the ice.
-Prior to the game Wednesday morning, Cole Caufield talked about how people tend to focus on his shooting ability and maybe overlook his ability to pass the puck and make his teammates better. That’s probably true, because he is a pretty good all-around player, but he didn’t help make that case, scoring a nice goal in the first period with one of his patented snipes to the top corner, and adding an easier one off a nice feed from Jack Hughes late. He can be good in other areas, but he’s got a really special, unique skill with his ability to put the puck in the net.
-Wide open all-star games like this tend to lack defense and can be difficult for goalies, but all four goalies, especially the two from the NTDP, were really impressive tonight. Both Spencer Knight and Cameron Rowe made some big saves 1-on-1 early on to keep the game low-scoring. As the game progressed, players started to gel a bit and the goalies struggled a little more with better puck movement, but overall, it looks like a pretty strong group of goalies for the US.
11:43 Arthur Kaliyev from Alex Turcotte and Nick Roberston 1-0 Langenbrunner
Turcotte came down the left wing with Kaliyev on a 2-on-1. Turcotte held the puck long enough to draw the defender’s stick to him and open up a passing lane. Turcotte dished a pass to Kaliyev and Kaliyev one-timed it into the net.
12:00 Cole Caufield unassisted 1-1 Tie
17 seconds after the first goal, Caufield picked up a loose puck turnover just above the bottom of the left circle and fired a high wrist shot for the goal.
1:22 Matt Boldy from Alex Turcotte and Marshall Warren 2-1 Langenbrunner
Warren took a slap shot from the left point that Turcotte got a deflection on. Cameron Rowe made the save, but the rebound defelected to Boldy on the right side of the crease and he had an open net to deposit the rebound.
16:48 Jack Hughes unassisted 2-2 Tie
Hughes lost an offensive zone face-off, but Langenbrunner defenseman Case McCarthy tried to rim the draw behind his own net, but instead accidentally shot the puck into his own net.
18:45 John Beecher from Michael Gildon and Ryder Donovan 3-2 Leopold
Some good work deep in the Langenbrunner zone led Gildon to feed a pass from behind the goal line out to Beecher in the mid-slot, and Beecher was ready to one-time the puck
13:14 Cole Caufield from Jack Hughes and Braden Doyle 4-2 Leopold
With a 2-on-1, Hughes made a pass across to Caufield and Caufield buried the puck with lots of net to shoot at.
13:49 Arthur Kaliyev from Nick Robertson 4-3 Leopold
Robertson forced a turnover deep in the Langenbrunner zone and Kaliyev swatted the loose puck into the net from the top of the crease.
18:53 Matt Boldy from Marshall Warren 4-4 Tie
Boldy carried the puck into the zone and fired a snap shot from the high slot that went bar down to tie the game.
19:24 Trevor Zegras from Matt Boldy and Michael Koster 5-4 Langenbrunner
Zegras and Boldy finished off a tic-tac-toe passing play off a rush with Zegras taking a pass in front of the net and one-timing it into the net.
19:50 Marshall Warren unassisted (empty net) 6-4 Langenbrunner
Warren rolled a shot from his own end of the ice into the open net to seal the game.