Hits stand out in low-scoring affair
Top prospects game: Team Orr edges Team Cherry 2-1 on last-minute power-play goal
By Steve Ewen, The Province
February 2, 2012
Tom Wilson was as a shaker. Now we'll see if that makes him a mover.
The Plymouth Whalers winger was physical force for Team Cherry in Wednesday's Home Hardware CHL-NHL Top Prospects Game, including a spirited fight with Dalton Thrower in the second period moments after Wilson had demolished Thrower's Team Orr and Saskatoon Blade teammate Lukas Sutter with a bone-rattling, open-ice check.
Kelowna Rockets owner/opera-tor Bruce Hamilton, whose team played host to the game here at Prospera Place, pointed out players frequently improved their draft stock with a strong showing in the contest.
Wilson, a 6-foot-4, 203-pound winger from Toronto, was ranked 33rd among North American skaters in the Central Scouting Bureau midseason rankings and has put up seven goals, 22 points, a plus-18 rating and 122 penalty minutes in 41 games with Plymouth so far this season.
Wilson, a Toronto native, also laid a thunderous check on Team Orr defenceman Matthew Finn, of the Guelph Storm, in the first period to help bring life to a defensive, cautious game.
Team Orr, coached by Pat Quinn and Vancouver Giants bench boss Don Hay, came away with a 2-1 win over Team Cherry before a crowd of 5,022. Former NHLer Mark Recchi and Kelowna Rockets skip-per Ryan Huska were behind the Team Cherry bench.
Brandon Troock of Seattle Thunderbirds bagged the winner for Team Orr on a power play with 24.5 seconds left, darting down the right wing and going to the backhand to beat Matt Murray of the Sault St. Marie Greyhouds.
It was the lowest-scoring game in the history of the event, which dates back to 1996. There had been a couple of 4-2 finishes in the past.
The lack of offence was tied, in part, to the injuries to some of the key players.
Three of the top five, and six of the top 21 players on Central list, including No. 1 Nail Yakupov (knee), skipped the event.
Yakupov, a winger with the Sarnia Sing, returned to action with Sarnia last Friday after almost a month on the sidelines but was advised by medical staff against playing here.
Yakupov had 101 points last year in 65 games last year with Sarnia and has 55, including 22 goals, in 29 games so far this season.
Griffin Reinhart, of the Edmonton Oil Kings, opened the scoring for Team Orr at 2: 46 of the second period, sneaking a screen shot.
Fellow rearguard Dillon Fournier, of the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, equalized for Team Cherry, jumping on a loose puck in front of the net on the rush and firing it home at 8: 23 of the third.
The game involved another fight in the third as Team Cherry's Mathew Dumba, of the Red Deer Rebels, duked it out with Team Orr's Raphael Bussieres, of the Baie-Comeau Drakkar. Dumba had laid a big check on Radek Faksa, of the Kitchener Rangers.
There was another big hit in the first period. Unfortunately, for Team Cherry, it was an accidental head-on between linemates Martin Frk (Halifax Mooseheads) and Tim Bozon (Kamloops Blazers).
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