In front of friends, family and a sizable crowd of Blackhawks fans, Anthony Louis—a 2013 draft pick and native of Winfield, Ill.—finished off a nifty maneuver in front of the net with less than a minute left in the game to net his first goal of Prospect Camp and push the Red Team to a 6-4 lead, which became the final result on Wednesday afternoon at Johnny’s IceHouse West.
The second of three scrimmages scheduled for the week was fast-paced, with both teams trading plenty of chances and two players scoring a pair of goals, but the Red Team held the lead throughout the game and demonstrated stronger offensive tactics than the White Team over both halves. Free-agent invitee Brian Ward opened the scoring for Red on a rebound opportunity early in the first half. Just 2 minutes later, it was a familiar face who doubled Red’s lead, as 2013 pick John Hayden carved a lane through the neutral zone and wristed in his third goal of the week.
The White Team was kept quiet throughout the beginning of the first half, but came to life after 20-year-old Vincent Hinostroza scored arguably the prettiest goal of the game, bringing the puck up the ice along the right wing, swiftly maneuvering into a shooting position and ending with a backhand finish.
Not only did Hinostroza create momentum for White by scoring their first goal, he also was very present around the puck and added an assist later in the game. Though today was his first day at Prospect Camp this week due to his class schedule, the Bartlett, Ill., native was prepared for its rigor. Coming off a strong freshman year at the University of Notre Dame, Hinostroza has not only put on muscle but also improved his puck management skills. Now in his third year attending camp, the 2012 sixth-round pick says he feels comfortable in these surroundings.
“It was great to get back, see all the guys, see all the coaches, talk to them a little bit,” he said. "I kind of know how the camp goes. In the past few years, I’ve learned how to possess the puck a little more, and I brought that a lot today."
Defenseman Michael Paliotta, a 2011 third-round pick, gave Red another two-goal lead just before the half, shoveling a rebound past Russian goaltender Ivan Nalimov. The rising senior at the University of Vermont then came to a teammate’s defense at the buzzer, engaging 2014 pick Beau Starrett in a tussle near the team benches.
In the second half, 2014 first-rounder Nick Schmaltz quickly opened the scoring to extend Red’s lead to 4-1. But White came roaring back, led by Hinostroza and free-agent invitee Samuel Walser, who tallied a pair. White’s first goal of the half as Hinostroza found Cole Gunner with a pass from the right wing, and the free agent from Air Force lifted it past Red’s goalie. Chasing more goals, the White Team quickly earned a power play, where 2013 sixth-round pick Luke Johnson intercepted a clearing attempt and found Walser with space in front of the netminder.
Red regained momentum through Ward, who knocked in his second of the scrimmage while seeing time on the top line alongside Louis and Hayden. Then, with just 6 minutes remaining, Johnson and Walser teamed up once more for White; the Notre Dame sophomore rushed up the right wing, and his shot from the boards found Walser on the rebound.
With White still down a goal and trying to maintain pressure, Red swooped in with one final push, ending with Louis’ goal to cap off the 6-4 victory.
The two teams will play one final scrimmage tomorrow. With bragging rights on the table, it will also be the prospects’ last chance to get out on the ice and show the coaches and Blackhawks Hockey Operations staff their capabilities in game situations.