Thursday, February 2, 2012

Team Orr Defeats Team Cherry 2-1 In The Home Hardware CHL Top Prospects Game

Scouts and General Managers from all 30 NHL Teams flocked to Prospera Place in Kelowna British Columbia to witness the lowest scoring game in the 17 year history of the event - a 2-1 victory for Team Orr.

Tom Wilson of the Plymouth Whalers (Team Cherry) showed why he's one of the top power forwards available for the draft when on his first shift he threw two big hits on Gianluca Curcuruto of the Soo Greyhounds. He continued to throw the body all night and was sure to draw the attention of scouts. He had a pretty good bout with Dalton Thrower of the Saskatoon Blades in the second period.

As for Curcuruto, he played a solid, physical, defensive game. He showed flashes of his puck carrying abilities, going end to end in the second period. He took the body when he could without going out of his way looking for the hit. He was left almost defenseless on Team Cherry's only goal as Thrower went out of his way to make a hit and missed leaving a virtual 2 on 1. Dillon Fournier scored on the rebound.

Gemel Smith of the Owen Sound Attack (Team Cherry) was his typical self. Tenacious on the puck despite his size, he fought battles along the wall and usually came away with the puck. His speed was evident throughout the night especially on the backcheck where he broke up a couple of Team Orr rushes.

Belleville Bulls teammates Daniil Zharkov and Brendan Gaunce (Team Cherry) played on a line together and created a couple of chances. The best chance came halfway through the second right after teams switched goaltenders when Zharkov picked the puck up at center and went in on defenseman Matt Finn (Guelph Storm). He pulled the puck between his legs and went around Finn and put a shot on Francois Tremblay.

Adam Pelech of the Erie Otters (Team Orr) was almost unbeatable defensively. He took his opponents out of the play at every opportunity, was positionally sound and took away shooting and passing lanes. It's no wonder he's only a minus 4 on a team where you find a roster full of minus 20 and 30.

Matt Murray of the Soo Greyhounds (Team Cherry) was nothing short of spectacular in goal coming in halfway through the second. His best two saves back to back were when they were on the penalty kill and he made a big save on Scott Kosmachuk (Guelph Storm) and then on Raphael Bussieres, who along with Radek Faksa (Kitchener Rangers), were buzzing.

No one really hurt their value in the game. The Finn's, Faksa's and Laughton's and such played okay games but weren't their usual dominant players that they show they could be at times. They should all be proud of the way they played and rest assured, no one hurt their value.

The one thing we learned from this game, or at least confirmed: This is the year of the defenseman.

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