THE WILD WIRE: 2019 NHL PROSPECTS TOURNAMENT BLOGSep 6, 2019
By Jacob Born (@jacob_born)
Your Minnesota Wild is competing in the 2019 NHL Prospects Tournament and this is the best place to get all the content related to the tournament. Coached by the Iowa Wild coaching staff, the future of the Wild will compete against other NHL organizations ahead of their respective training camps.
Below is a running blog of each game of the tournament. New entries are added at the bottom to keep it chronological. Check back every day to stay up-to-date on everything Wild-related at the tournament.
Game 1: 2-1 loss to Dallas
Minnesota Wild dropped its first game of the 2019 NHL Prospects Tournament in Traverse City, MI, falling to the Dallas Stars by a score of 2-1 Friday afternoon.
Dallas opened the scoring just more than three minutes into the contest as forward Nicholas Porco scored the first goal of the tournament for the Stars. The 2019 5th round draft pick was in the slot when he received a pass from forward Ty Dellandra and managed to beat goaltender Mat Robson (35 saves) high blocker side for the score.
A chippy contest from the beginning, the Stars and Wild saw things come to a boil when Minnesota’s Turner Ottenbreit dropped the gloves with Dallas’ Curtis Douglas late in the first period.
At the end of the opening frame, Dallas led 1-0 and had a 12-8 shot advantage.
The Stars doubled its lead at 5:22 in the middle stanza when forward Rhett Gardner tapped home a puck at the far post. Defenseman Thomas Harley took a shot from the point that was tipped by forward Riley Tufte, which caused the puck to squeak through Robson’s pads. Gardner was then able to knock the puck into the open net for his first of the tournament.
The Wild answered back with a goal less than two minutes later to cut the Stars’ lead to 2-1. Forwards Will Bitten and Nico Sturm engaged in a 2-on-1, where Bitten’s initial pass was knocked down by the Dallas defense. Bitten managed to slide the puck to Sturm across the crease, but he was stopped by goaltender Jake Oettinger (20 saves). Sturm then buried his own rebound for his first goal of the tournament.
Entering the third period, Dallas led 2-1 and outshot Minnesota 25-21.
The Wild pushed back in the third period, highlighted by a four-minute power-play for Minnesota, but the team couldn’t solve Oettinger one more time, ultimately falling in the first game of the tournament. Minnesota finished the game 0-for-4 on the power-play and 4-for-4 on the penalty kill. Final shot totals were 37-21 in favor of Dallas.
Minnesota will continue the NHL Prospect Tournament Saturday against the Columbus Blue Jackets, who won its first game against the New York Rangers by a score of 6-2. Puck drop for Saturday’s contest is at 5:30 p.m. CT.
- Forwards Will Bitten and Dmitry Sokolov wore the “As” for the Wild
- Minnesota’s roster features nine players who have competed in the NHL Prospects Tournament before
- The loss was Minnesota’s first to Dallas in the NHL Prospects Tournament since 2016
“We have to watch some video. We made some mistakes today. But we’re going to analyze what we did wrong, prepare for a new team and try to recover. At this level, everyone knows what they have to get ready for back to back games, so that’s not really an issue.”
-Forward Nico Sturm on the quick turnaround between games
Game 2: 3-2 loss to Columbus in OT
Minnesota Wild’s comeback attempt fell short Saturday night as the team dropped the contest to the Columbus Blue Jackets by a score of 3-2.
Columbus jumped out to a 1-0 lead at 9:40 in the first period on a tally from forward Egor Sokolov. Sokolov won a board battle and then skated inside the left circle before taking a quick shot. His wrister beat goaltender Dereck Baribeau (26 saves) short side for his second tally of the tournament.
The Blue Jackets extended its lead to 2-0 with less than a minute remaining in the first period. Forward Alexandre Texier made a deke on Baribeau before wrapping around the net, drawing the netminder out of position. Texier then kicked the puck out to the blueline to defenseman Eric Hjorth, who wristed a shot off the crossbar and into the back of the net.
At the end of the opening frame, Columbus led 2-0 and outshot the Wild 10-2.
Forward Will Bitten put Minnesota on the board at 16:52 in the second period, cutting Columbus’ lead to 2-1. Forward Dmitry Sokolov sprung Bitten with a leading pass, giving him a breakaway. Bitten deked to his backhand before bringing the puck to his forehand and tucked it behind the leg of Veini Vehvilainen (28 saves) for his first of the tournament.
Heading into the third period, the Wild trailed 2-1 and the Blue Jackets had a 17-15 shot advantage.
Minnesota tied the game at 13:28 in the third period as forward Brandon Duhaime potted his first of the tournament. On a 2-on-1, forward Matvey Guskov toe-dragged around a sliding Columbus defender before feeding Duhaime in front. Duhaime then deflected the puck over the blocker of Vehvilainen to move the score to 2-2.
At the end of regulation, Columbus and Minnesota were tied at 2-2 and shots were tied at 24-24.
Columbus won the game in overtime as Texier netted his second goal of the tournament with 6.3 seconds remaining. The Wild won a draw at the left faceoff circle, but Texier forced a turnover in the slot. He picked up the puck and lifted it over Baribeau’s right pad to give the home side the victory.
Minnesota finished the game 0-for-2 on the power play and 4-for-4 on the penalty kill. Shot totals were 30-29 in favor of the Wild.
With an off-day Sunday, Minnesota returns to the ice Monday afternoon to battle the New York Rangers. Puck drop is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. CT.
- Forwards Nico Sturm and Brandon Duhaime served as alternate captains for Saturday’s game
- Minnesota iced two pairs of brothers Saturday night in Will and Sam Bitten and Darian and Drake Pilon. It was the first time the Bitten brothers played together competitively
- Saturday’s contest featured two fights, as Duhaime squared off with Jacob Paquette and Nick Boka fought Maxime Fortier. Both came in the third period of the contest
- Minnesota is 0-2 in the tournament for the first time since 2016
“I was proud of the guys. We were down early, we could have quit, but we battled back to make it 2-2 and force it to overtime. We had our chances but they just got a lucky bounce at the end to finish it.”
-Forward Will Bitten on the team’s compete level against Columbus
Game 3: 4-3 loss to New York Rangers in OT
Minnesota Wild fell to the New York Rangers in overtime by a score of 4-3 Monday afternoon to finish up round-robin play in the NHL Prospects Tournament in Traverse City, MI.
The Wild jumped out to a 1-0 lead at 17:40 in the first period on a breakaway attempt by forward Ivan Lodnia. Lodnia forced a turnover at the Wild’s blueline and picked up the loose puck with a direct line to Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (20 saves). He then made a quick shoulder move to open up the five-hole and buried his shot for his first goal of the tournament. The goal marked the first time this tournament the Wild led in a game.
At the end of the first period, Minnesota led 1-0 and held a 12-10 shot advantage.
Drake and Darian Pilon put their names on the scoresheet at 16:31 in the second period to give Minnesota a 2-0 lead. Drake Pilon took a shot that was blocked by a New York defender and fluttered up in the air. Cutting across the slot, Darian batted the puck past Shesterkin for his first tally of the tournament.
Just more than two minutes later, Drake Pilon hit Rangers forward Lewis Zerter-Gossage down in the right corner in the Wild’s zone, getting whistled for a five-minute major for a hit to the game. He was also removed from the game due to the hit.
Heading into the third period, Minnesota led 2-0 but New York led in shots 17-15.
The Rangers got on to the board 66 seconds into the third period to cut Minnesota’s lead to 2-1. Forward Karl Henriksson ripped a shot that was saved by goaltender Hunter Jones (25 saves), but the rebound kicked out to forward Vitali Kravtsov at the right side of the net. Kravtsov’s shot beat Jones glove side for his first of the tournament. The goal was also the first power-play goal Minnesota allowed in Traverse City.
New York then tied the game up at 2:44 in the final frame as Kravtsov netted his second of the game. Forward Kaapo Kakko threaded a pass across the Wild’s crease to Kravtsov on the far post, who then one-timed the puck into the back of the net while on the power play.
The Wild responded with a goal from forward Matvey Guskov at 4:26 in the third period. Forward Adam Beckman took a shot from the left side of the ice, but his attempt was saved by Shesterkin. Guskov picked up the loose puck in the slot and chipped the puck over Shesterkin’s left pad for his first goal of the tournament.
The Rangers pulled the goalie at 18:07 in the third and then 16 seconds later, New York tied the game once again. With the puck behind the net, Kakko tossed it out in front. Forward Patrick Newell got the puck and banked it off Jones and into the back of the net, forcing the game to overtime.
In the extra frame with the puck in the Wild’s zone, Kakko made a wrap-around attempt but couldn’t get a shot off. Kakko then circled the net again, gained some separation from a pick by defenseman Adam Fox and beat Jones to the far post to secure the victory for the Rangers. His game-winner and fourth point of the game came at the 2:48 mark of the period.
Minnesota finished the game 0-for-4 on the power play and 3-for-5 on the penalty kill. Final shot totals were 30-22 in favor of the Rangers.
With the loss, the Wild will play in the seventh-place game of the NHL Prospects Tournament. Minnesota will face the fourth-place team of the Howe Division.
- Damien Giroux and Nick Boka wore the As for the Wild this game
- Minnesota went 0-3 in round-robin play for the first time since 2016
- The Wild did not allow a 5-on-5 goal against the Rangers
- Matvey Guskov and Will Bitten lead the Wild with two points apiece
Game 4: 6-1 loss to Chicago
Minnesota Wild closed out the 2019 NHL Prospects Tournament in Traverse City, MI, with a 6-1 defeat at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks.
Forward Kirby Dach, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, gave the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead at 4:19 in the first period. Forward MacKenzie Entwistle sent a pass to Dach in the slot and he one-timed it through the legs of goaltender Dereck Baribeau (24 saves) and into the back of the net for his second of the tournament.
Chicago then doubled its lead at 7:42 in the opening frame as forward Riley McKay notched his first score at Traverse City. Forward Sean Josling shuttled the puck to McKay, who rifled the puck bar down blocker side.
After forward Darian Pilon was whistled for a boarding penalty against Dach, Entwistle gave the visitors a 3-0 lead at 10:27 in the first stanza. Defenseman Nicolas Beaudin cut through the crease, drawing a poke-check from Baribeau. He dropped the puck back to the far post, giving Entwistle an easy tap-in for the power-play goal.
At the end of the first period, Minnesota trailed 3-0 and was outshot 14-5.
The second period featured no scoring, but the Wild were forced to kill off a five-minute major penalty when forward Damien Giroux was called for a boarding penalty against Chicago’s Philipp Kurashev.
Heading into the third period, the score was 3-0 and shots were 23-14 in favor of the Blackhawks.
That score would hold until the 3:50 mark of the third period, when forward Tim Soderlund logged his second tally of the tournament. Forward Michal Teply skated down the right side with Soderlund crashing the net. Teply tossed a puck on net and Soderlund deflected it over Baribeau’s glove, giving Chicago a 4-0 lead.
Chicago’s scoring barrage continued as forward Dylan McLaughlin lasered a shot over Baribeau’s right shoulder for his first of the tournament, pushing the Blackhawks’ lead to 5-0 at 10:28 in the third. Josling earned his second assist of the game on the play.
Teply added a goal to his assist at 15:31 in the third period for Chicago’s sixth consecutive goal. Soderlund weaved through the Wild defense before wrapping around the net. The Wild defense rushed to close off the close post and Soderlund fed the puck to Teply in the slot, who wristed a shot off the far post and into the back of the net.
The Wild finally broke through at 17:57 in the third period, ending Chicago’s goal run. Defenseman Jack Sadek took a shot from the point that was saved by goaltender Alexis Gravel (27 saves), but forward Connor Dewar was there for the rebound. His first two attempts were saved, but he knocked the puck across the goal line on the third for his first of the tournament.
At the final whistle, Chicago skated away with a 6-1 victory. Final shot totals were 30-28 in favor of the Blackhawks. Minnesota went 0-for-2 on the power play and 2-for-3 on the penalty kill.
- Forward Will Bitten and defenseman Nick Boka were alternate captains for the seventh-place game
- Bitten and forward Matvey Guskov paced the Wild with two points apiece
- 2019 marked the first time since 2013 Minnesota failed to win a game at the NHL Prospects Tournament