2019 NHL Draft

Recap: CHL Top Prospects Game

McMichael’s late goal caps furious rally in third
Steve Kournianos  |  1/23/2018 |  Nashville  |  

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NASHVILLE (The Draft Analyst) — Connor McMichael broke a tie late in the third period and Team Orr scored four unanswered goals for a 5-4 win over Team Cherry in Wednesday’s Canadian Hockey League Top Prospects Game.

McMichael took a pass from Graeme Clarke and whipped a shot over goalie Taylor Gauthier’s shoulder at 17:11 of the third to cap a ferocious rally from a 4-1 deficit. Left wing Jakob Pelletier started the comeback for Team Orr at 4:42 of the final frame, and defenseman Nikita Okhotyuk made it 4-3 at 15:59 with a wrist shot from the left point. Brett Leason tied the score 4-4 at 16:45 when he took advantage of a falling Matthew Robertson and walked in alone to beat Gauthier.

Team Cherry had built leads of 2-0 after 20 minutes and 3-1 heading into the third thanks to the line centered by Peyton Krebs and flanked by Arthur Kaliyev and Nicholas Robertson. Krebs on the power play made it 3-1 in the second period, and Kaliyev’s second goal made it 4-1 early in the third period. Team Orr responded quickly with Pelletier’s semi-breakaway goal.

Kaliyev, a native of Staten Island, opened the scoring with a one-timer from the right circle in the first. Left wing Samuel Poulin made it 2-0 when he buried the rebound of his deflected shot, and goalie Mads Sogaard made it stand until the second period, when Clarke danced about Bowen Byram to put Team Orr on the board.

Player Notes

C Kirby Dach (Saskatoon Blades | 6’4, 199 | 1/21/01): Dach was team captain and had several instances where he was able to take advantage of time and space and set up scoring chances. He earned an assist on Jakob Pelletier’s critical goal in the third, although it appeared as though his intended pass actually was swiped towards Pelletier by the swinging stick of Michael Vukojevic. It certainly wasn’t the kind of dominant performance one may have expected from Central Scouting’s top-ranked CHL prospect. But the vision, puck control and playmaking Dach displayed aligned with what he does on a nightly basis with Saskatoon.

C/W Brett Leason (Prince Albert | 6’4, 200 | 4/30/99): If age is just a number to this kid, then people assessing his NHL potential should feel the same way. Leason was all of the puck in the offensive zone and generated several scoring chances on his own. His goal revealed his patience, and it as clutch as they come. Leason creates his own shot, but what shouldn’t be forgotten is his playmaking ability, and from the wing no less. Simply put, the TPG performance mirrored what he’s done all season, and was another example of Leason proving that he belongs.

LW Arthur Kaliyev (Hamilton | 6’1, 190 | 6/26/01): Kaliyev continues to victimize goaltenders of any ilk with his elite shot. There are a lot of teenagers who can clobber the puck. But to do so with pinpoint accuracy is what separates the contenders from the pretenders, and Kaliyev can sure label the puck with authority. He blistered a one-timer off a beautiful cross-ice backhand feed from Nick Robertson in the first period, then slam-dunked a tap-in in the only place he could put it. His compete level away from the puck, plus his willingness to engage in battles along the wall, hopefully are two things he continues to do as he continues his assault on OHL opposition.

RW Nick Robertson (Peterborough | 5’9, 162 | 9/11/01): Easily the most talked about prospect from the game, and for good reason. Robertson’s speed, quickness, acceleration and playmaking shouldn’t have surprised anybody in attendance who watched the OHL with regularity. He’s been consistently dangerous in both league play and for Team USA at international events, including his hat trick against Canada’s best in the controversial loss at last summer’s Ivan Hlinka. Forget the size thing for a second — this kid comes from a good family, brings a tremendous amount of energy to every shift, and can be counted on to make any defender look foolish.

G Mads Sogaard (Medicine Hat | 6’7, 192 | 12/13/01): Forget the stupid world juniors yet? Well, it seems like Sogaard certainly has. Not only did he look sharp in his return to the Tigers after the tournament ended in early January, but the young Dane was flawless on Wednesday night in Red Deer. Sogaard had to be pulled last week from a start against Edmonton due to a hip issue, but he showed no issues in mobility or flexibility. He wasn’t pelted with chance after chance, but his technique looked solid, and he was displaying his exceptional puck-handling skills. He was beaten only once, and it took miraculous shot placement by Graeme Clarke to beat him.