The scoring started early, as players found their legs and upped the intensity on the final day of scrimmages with the full group. Although Team A held a slim lead through two periods, another late surge by Team B’s top players gave them the victory and allowed them to clinch the Prospect Camp trophy.
Nathan Noel, a fourth-round pick in 2016, opened the scoring for Team A (wearing white jerseys) early with a quick wrister that beat goaltender Shane Starrett. Team B (wearing red) ramped up the pressure as 2016 second-rounder Alex DeBrincat created a few scoring chances on successive shifts. They finally broke through on another stellar individual effort by free-agent invitee Alexandre Fortin, who stole the puck at the blue line and took off on a breakaway, deking from backhand to forehand on the finish.
Less than a minute later, Noel put Team A head again, tapping home the puck off a centering feed from linemate Beau Starrett. Late in the period, defenseman Lucas Carlsson embarked on an end-to-end rush, but the 2016 fourth-round pick had the puck poke-checked away.
“We started a lot better than we did in previous games, and that was great to see,” Noel said. “[Beau and Fredrik Olofsson] are both big guys, and we controlled the puck really well. It was just clicking today. Everything was working.”
Team A narrowed the gap 4 minutes into the second period, as 2016 fifth-round selection Mathias From finished a wrister from in close. Team B answered again when Fortin stole another puck to create a 2-on-0 opportunity and fed Matheson Iacopelli, who flicked the puck cleanly into the roof of the net for his second goal of camp. Fortin would have two more prime scoring chances in the second, hitting the post from the right circle on the power play and then having another breakaway chance stopped.
Coming off a hip injury that limited him to 43 points (19G, 24A) in 54 games with Rouyn-Noranda in the QMJHL last season, Fortin has been a camp standout, excelling in front of notable names like Joel Quenneville and Stan Bowman this week.
“I don’t see [their presence] as pressure; I see it as a boost,” Fortin said. “It’s helped me to be better.”
The 19-year-old from Blainville, Quebec, put an exclamation mark on his day with the tying goal for Team B early in the third period, cashing in on a rebound after setting up the initial shot by Trevor Mingoia.
Team A created several more scoring chances to try and take the lead once more, but it was Team B that found a late breakthrough. Dylan Sikura’s cross-crease pass found John Dahlstrom, who didn’t miss with the goalie down and out. The late goal gave Team B a 4-3 win, marking their second comeback of the week as they swept the main scrimmage series.
Prospect Camp resumes on Thursday with positional drills, as the ELC group combines with the prospects ahead of Friday’s final scrimmage.