TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- The Detroit Red Wings have won six Presidents' Trophies and 11 Stanley Cup titles in their storied history, but never before has the organization fielded the best team of prospects at its traditional Traverse City Tournament here at Center ICE Arena.
That missing piece was realized Monday before a capacity crowd when left wing Anthony Mantha, a 2013 first-round pick (No. 20), connected for two goals and one assist, and goalie Jared Coreau, a free-agent signee from Northern Michigan University, made 23 saves to lead the Red Wings' prospects to a 4-2 victory against the defending champion Buffalo Sabres in the 15th annual Traverse City championship game.
"Everyone knew Detroit hadn't won this tournament and we just battled hard the whole way," Mantha said. "To come out with the win and get the cup is a good feeling right now. The guys in the locker room were very happy."
Detroit (4-0-0) not only finished the tournament unbeaten, but outscored the opposition, 15-6, in an impressive showing. The runner-up Sabres (3-1-0) outscored their foes, 18-15.
The Red Wings opened a 2-0 lead on back-to-back power-play goals by Mantha. His first came with just 1:18 left in the first period, and his second was only 29 seconds into the second.
"Both goals were on the power play," Mantha said. "On the first, I was in front and just battled; got a loose puck right in front so I couldn't miss. On the second one, I just managed to put that puck into the net from in front."
"We were so close and we knew we hadn't won it before and [coach Jeff Blashill] told us before the tournament that we hadn't won it," Red Wings wing Tomas Jurco (2012, No. 35) said. "We didn't know we were going to be good at the time, but we wanted to win. As you go through the tournament, you see how good you are and you begin to realize that the change is pretty good. Before our last game, we wanted to win it really bad."
Peter Trainor made it interesting at the 12:47 mark when he struck for the Sabres, but Jurco would ultimately seal the deal with just 26 seconds remaining when he hit into an empty net to the delight of the hometown faithful. Along with Jurco, Max Nicastro and Riley Sheahan were considered the team leaders of the Detroit team this season.
"This was an unbelievable group; each line played great," Jurco said. "It wasn't like two lines were good and two lines were OK. Each line had some chances, and it's only good for the organization to have good prospects like this."