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2014 Prospect Camp: Schmaltz, Louis team up to great effect in Day 5

by Joe Rajchel / Chicago Blackhawks

After three days of scrimmages, familiarity has been bred between the members of the White Team and the Red Team. While the first two games of the week started slow, with players still getting used to each other, the third contest produced immediate fireworks. Just 7 minutes into the game, White had jumped out to a 3-1 lead that would eventually result in a 5-4 victory.

The sense of comfort and playing with ease was most evident between center Nick Schmaltz and winger Anthony Louis from Red, who were rarely on separate lines and looked like one of the more dynamic tandems at camp.

“[We played together] when we were young, so I kind of know how he plays,” Louis said of Schmaltz. “He’s a skilled guy like me; he thinks the same game as I do. So it was really easy playing with him.”

Louis and Schmaltz, teammates on the Chicago Mission U16 squad in 2011-12, knew they could rely on each other to make the plays that needed to be made. While the third member of their line changed often, the two seemed to form the most complete line when partnered with 2013 draft pick and Prospect Camp top scorer John Hayden.

“We had a lot of skill and made the little plays,” said Schmaltz. “Hayden is a guy who can shoot the puck and score. He’s just hanging out in the slot and creating room, [so we could] get him the puck and [he would] put it away.”

Vincent Hinostroza, a center from the University of Notre Dame, had another big game after arriving at camp on Wednesday. In his first scrimmage, Hinostroza tallied a goal and assist; he added two more points on Thursday, including a breakaway goal. Despite showing up later in the week and playing in just two of the three scrimmages, he made his ice time count.

The scoring started when free-agent winger Cody Caron of Red took advantage of a turnover in front of the net and shot the puck past Ivan Nalimov just 1:33 into the game. But from there, White went on a 3-0 run that was finally snapped by Hayden at 12:36. Less than 2 minutes later, Hinostroza led a rush that resulted in a 4-2 lead for White.

But with just 20.9 seconds left in the first half, Zachary Aston-Reese sprung a 2-on-1 breakaway with Nolan La Porte that cut Red’s deficit to one.

Each team would score in the second half, Hinostroza for White and Caron for Red, before a tripping penalty by Beau Starrett put Red on a power play with just 1:18 left in the game. Even with the goalie pulled for a 6-on-4 attack, Red was held off the board, and White earned their first victory of the week.

At the end of regulation, the teams engaged in an exhibition shootout. Louis and Hayden scored for Red in a 2-1 victory.

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