Top Prospects Tournament: Team Red blitzes by Team Blue, 9-3; Team White needs OT to get by Team Black
By Kevin Scott
|Team Red vs. Team Blue|
|Box Score||Game Sheet||Tourney Scoreboard||Rosters|
|Team White vs. Team Black|
|Box Score||Game Sheet||Tourney Scoreboard||Rosters|
CRANBERRY TOWNSHIP (PITTSBURGH), PA., February 7, 2022 — In cooperation with the 2022 North American Hockey League (NAHL) Top Prospects Tournament, the NA3HL Top Prospects Tournament (TPT) also took place at the same venue. This year a new home for the prestigious two-day ‘all-star’ like tournament was found at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry Township (near Pittsburgh), Pennsylvania which is the practice facility utilized by the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins.
Similar to the 2021 event, four teams with mixed rosters from the five NA3HL divisions (Central, East, Frontier, South, and West) make up the tournament with Team Blue, Team Red, Team White, and Team Black. Each of the TPT teams (88 players and eight coaches total) will each play two games over two days with each squad having 22 players (13 forwards, 7 defensemen, and 2 goaltenders) along with a head coach and an assistant coach. Respective head coaches nominated all players that were considered for the prestigious event. The two-day Top Prospects Tournament began on February 7th and will finish on February 8th. Click here for the full two-day tournament schedule and results.
The 2022 NA3HL Top Prospects Tournament provided an opportunity for the NA3HL to showcase their best hockey players in front of coaches and scouts from the North American Hockey League (NAHL), the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) and the NCAA college levels.
All eight Frontier Division teams will be represented with a total of 22 players spread across the four squads competing in the top prospects event including three from the Great Falls Americans. The Gillette (WY) Wild and the Helena Bighorns, the top two teams in the Frontier Division, sent five players and four players, respectively, while Bozeman Ice Dogs will have three players and the Badlands (SD) Sabres and Butte Cobras have two representatives and the Sheridan (WY) Hawks and Yellowstone (WY) Quake will have one each. Click here for the Americans press release with full Frontier Division rosters and the teams they will participate on.
The Great Falls Americans, currently fourth in the Frontier Division this season behind the Gillette (WY) Wild, Helena Bighorns and the Bozeman Ice Dogs, are currently 20-14-3-2 on the season with less than a month remaining in the 2021-22 regular season, sent two forwards Jackson Henningsgard and Micah Serino and defenseman AJ Benit to Pennsylvania. The trio of Americans will play on Team Blue coached by Granite City Lumberjacks mentor Brad Willner and assisted by former Great Falls Americans Associate Coach and current Gillette Wild Head Coach, Ethan Hayes.
Also representing the Frontier Division as a coach will be the Helena Bighorns Head Coach Damon Hanson, who will coach four of his own players and two players from the Badlands Sabres along with other players from around the league, will guide Team White. To view the full list of coaches and the schedule, please click here.
Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks forward Dylan Walker scored two goals and goaltenders Camden Pendleton (El Paso Rhinos) and Dolan Gilbert (Texas Brahmas) combined for 26 saves as Team Red led 5-0 and routed Team Blue 9-3 during the first day of action at the two-day 2022 Top Prospects Tournament at the UMPC Lemieux Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Monday morning. The Yellowstone Quake’s Gustav Ostman scored twice, and Great Falls Americans forward Micah Serino added one assist for Team Blue in the loss.
The Red Team needed 5:27 to put in the first score and take the early lead. Elijah Devereaux (Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks) scored off a pass by the Louisiana Drillers forward Anderson O’Connor. Before the first period concluded, the Red team struck twice more as Pavel Bakhtin (Wausau Cyclones) and Ilnur Madiarov (Mid Cities Jr. Stars) each found the back of the net for Red Coach’s Ed Galiani (Texas Brahmas) team. Derek Cagle (Wausau Cyclones) assisted on teammate Pavel Bakhtin’s score and Michael Imala (Texas Brahmas), and Noah Roitman (Rochester Grizzlies) earned the assists on Ilnur Madiarov’s score. Twenty-five shots were taken between both clubs.
After the first intermission, the Red Team would increase their lead to 5-0 with a pair of goals by Michael Imala and Kyle Russell (Mid Cities Jr. Stars). Illnur Madiarov and the Rochester Grizzlies’ Cole Gibson helped secure the scoring drives. Twelve minutes into the stanza, the Blue Team lit up the lamp for the first time as Long Beach Sharks forward Jake Weikel registered his first goal of the tournament with help coming from Micah Serino from the Great Falls Americans to cut the deficit to 5-1. The Red Team would not relent and scored two more goals during the final four minutes to take a commanding 7-1 lead after two periods. Dylan Walker (Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks), a teammate of Elijah Devereaux who scored the opening goal of the game, scored the sixth goal on te unassisted tally. Kyle Russell picked up his first assist after making a goal earlier in the period on the seventh goal for the Red Team put in by Josh Hrip (Louisiana Drillers). Despite the six-goal difference after the first forty minutes, Team Red took just four more shots (22-18) than Team Blue.
Red Team forward Dylan Walker connected on his second goal of the game with Anderson O’Connor claiming his second assist as the Red Team scored 36 seconds into the final frame. Team Blue produced two goals as Gustav Ostman, a Swedish player who suits up for the Yellowstone Quake in the Frontier Division, scored twice with three players assisting including Ben Luedtke (Willmar WarHawks), Tim Hayden (Norwich Sea Captains) and the Gillette Wild’s Isaac Young. Team Blue would get no closer than 8-3 as Team Red and El Paso Rhinos forward Caden Butler chipped in the game’s final scoring drive with Josh Hrip and Dylan Walker garnering the assists to end the high-scoring affair.
Team Red led in the shots-on-goal category in two of the three periods to finish three shots ahead of Team Blue (32-29).
Team Blue was called for one minor penalty in the first and third periods while neither team committed any in the middle stanza. Team Blue, coached by Brad Willner of the Granite City Lumberjacks and assisted by Gillette Wild mentor Ethan Hayes, ended the contest two minors resulting in four minutes spent in the sin bin. Team Red enjoyed a penalty-free game.
Dylan Walker led both squads with two goals and an assist for the winning team while Gustav Ostman from the Quake added two goals for Team Blue. Great Falls American players (Jackson Henningsgard, AJ Benit, and Micah Serino) all saw action but only Serino got into the scoring column with a second period assist. Billings McCaffrey, the only Frontier Division player for Team Red, played but did not score. Butte Cobra standouts Nick Bradshaw and Cade Wessman and Gillette’s Brock Trboyevich and Sky Solig each participated. Luke Schleusner from the Butte Cobras did not play today.
El Paso Rhinos netminder Camden Pendleton picked up the win playing 1 ½ periods as the starter deflecting all eleven shots before Dolan Gilbert of the Texas Brahmas entered the exhibition contest by acquiring 15 saves. Cooper Olson (Willmar WarHawks) and Jake Turek (Gillette Wild) combined for 23 saves in the setback for Team Blue.
Team White needs overtime to slip by Team Black, 4-3
CRANBERRY TOWNSHIP (PITTSBURGH), PA., February 7, 2022 — Peoria Mustangs forward Ethan Chesney (one goal, two assists) scored the eventual game-winning overtime goal for Team White as they prevailed over Team Black, 4-3. Sean Kenny (Alexandria Blizzard) of Team White led both teams in goals scored with two.
Sean Kenny opened the first period with the game’s lone first score for Team White. Kenny, a Sparta, New Jersey native who plays with the Alexandria Blizzard, netted the first of his two goals early with no assistance.
The second period belonged to Team Black as they scored three consecutive goals to lead 3-1 with one period remaining. Nolan Murphy of the Northeast Generals, Tyler Love (Texas RoadRunners) and Nate Stone (Milwaukee Power) each contributed one goal apiece. Murphy’s goal occurred while Team Black was on a power play and his teammate Matthew Nuzzolilo (Northeast Generals) set up the first scoring drive for Team Black 16 seconds into the middle frame. Milwaukee Power teammates Nate Stone and Mason Ausmus helped on Tyler Love’s goal with 2:41 remaining. Nate Stone needed just 19 seconds after collecting his first assist to gather his first goal. Oklahoma City Ice Hawks forward Jakob Holley received his first assist to conclude the scoring before the second break.
Nearly eleven minutes went off the clock in the third as Team White rallied and scored twice in that time frame. Oregon Tradesmen’s Jason Tenezaca added his first goal of the tournament within the first 42 seconds Defenseman Rex Staudacher and forward Ethan Chesney provided the helpers to make the score 3-2. Ten minutes later and midway through the final period of regulation, Sean Kenny, who scored the game’s first goal, scored his second off the stick of Ethan Chesney, who racked up his second assist of the period and tied the game at 3-3. Both teams skated the remaining nine minutes before an overtime was needed to declare a winning side.
In the extra period, Ethan Chesney of the White Team scored right away (42 seconds) to end the contest. The unassisted play came with 4:18 remaining in the sudden death period.
Team White edged Team Black in the shots-on-goal, 28-27 with most of the shots coming in the middle period (22 combined).
Each squad committed two minor (two-minute) penalties resulting in four minutes spent off the ice. Both teams went 1-for-2 on the power play.
Ethan Chesney (one goal, two assists) and Sean Kenny’s two goals led the way for Team White. Nate Stone accumulated one goal and one assist for Team Black. Bozeman Ice Dogs players (Luke Busher, Ian Bowman, and Makhai Sparks all saw time on the ice but did not gather any points for Team Black. Team White was represented by two Frontier Division teams in the Helena Bighorns and the Badlands Sabres. Badland Sabres defenseman Seth Stock and Helena’s Zach Vockler each played but forwards Samuel Feemster and Tylor Greene, along with goaltender Eric Buchholz did not see action on the first day of the tournament.
Owen Carlson (Mason City Toros) was the only goaltender for Team White to see any action. He stopped 24 of the 27 shots he faced. Hunter Hein of the Texas RoadRunners had 11 saves and Anthony Adleman of Oregon Tradesmen took the loss but concluded the day with 13 saves for Team Black.
TOURNAMENT NOTES: Fans can also follow the action live at HockeyTV and see the stats updated live on the NA3HLTop Prospects Tournament Scoreboard. View the first day of action (box scores/game recaps) by clicking here for the NA3HL article.
Click here to view the full roster list (printable PDF version) from each of the four TPT teams.
Click here to view the NA3HL Press Release with rosters, coaches, and schedule and information for the 2022 Top Prospects Tournament. Fans can also follow the action live at HockeyTV and see the stats updated live on the NA3HL Scoreboard. NA3HL Scoreboard.
The following links are articles relating to the 2022 Top Prospects Tournament.
January 28, 2022: NA3HL News: NA3HL announces 2022 Top Prospects rosters
January 24, 2022: NA3HL News: 2022 NA3HL Top Prospects just two weeks away
To view more information about the 2022 Top Prospects Tournament, please visit the tournament webpage: http://na3hl.com/tpt/
NEXT CONTEST: The second and final day of competition at the 2022 Top Prospects Tournament will be on Tuesday, February 8th with each team playing once. Team Blue will face Team White starting at 7:00AM (MST) followed at 9:30AM (MST) with Team Black challenging Team Red.
Story Courtesy: North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL): Red and White triumph on Day 1 of Top Prospects (February 7, 2022)