For many of the Blackhawks’ top prospects, this was the day they’d been waiting for all week. Friday’s scrimmage at Johnny’s IceHouse West featured two teams comprised of draft picks and players on entry-level contracts, and after a scoreless first period, the pace picked up and the floodgates opened.
It started with Vincent Hinostroza, playing on Team B’s top line with John Hayden and Ryan Hartman, who found the net just 46 seconds into the middle frame. Team A answered almost immediately afterward as camp standout Alexandre Fortin stole the puck at the blue line, leading to a 2-on-0 and a tap-in goal by Tanner Kero,
Team A seemed to find another gear, creating a flurry of scoring chances; Beau Starrett and Nick Schmaltz and Anthony Louis each had good opportunities stopped by goalie Matt Tomkins, before Radovan Bondra broke the tie for Team B.
The loudest play of the second period belonged to Roy Radke, whose breakaway shot 11 minutes in rang off the pipe, eliciting cheers and groans from the capacity crowd at Johnny’s IceHouse West. Just after Radke’s miss, Team B broke through again: Fredrik Olofsson found linemate Mathias From with a drop pass, and the 2016 fourth-round pick’s wrist shot snuck past Wouter Peeters to give Team B a 3-1 lead.
Once again, it didn’t take long for Team A to respond. Nick Schmaltz found Tyler Motte in the slot for a laser that popped the goalie’s water bottle; the two recent ELC signings, along with 2016 second-rounder Alex DeBrincat, showcased noticeable speed and skill throughout the scrimmage. A few minutes later, Radke made up for his near-miss from earlier with a short-side snipe on Tomkins to knot the score at 3-3.
The exhilarating pace continued through the third period, as Team A continued to generate chances, only for Tomkins to hold steady in net. Team B opened up another two-goal lead, first off a tip-in by Jack Ramsey and later off Hinostroza’s second of the game.
Team A closed the gap through Matheson Iacopelli, whose backhand finish in tight was the game’s most impressive finish, but Olofsson’s nifty backhand late in the period beat Jake Hildebrand to ice the game for Team B.