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Several Shine at 2019 Prospects Challenge

Conway, Hannoun score for Bruins in 3-2 OT loss to Devils to wrap up tourney

by Laney Byler @NHLBruins /

BUFFALO - Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney didn't have a short list of Bruins players who made an impression at the 2019 Prospects Challenge.

"Well, I think Anders (Bjork) had two strong games, it was pretty close," Sweeney said. "But I think Urho (Vaakanainen) had his best game today, he was moving pucks, doing stuff we asked. It was nice to see Axel (Andersson) get some time, because he was under the weather, but he stepped in and played okay for his first opportunity. I thought (Kyle) Keyser got better as the games went along, Jack (Studnicka) got better - a little slow starting today, but it's the third game."

The GM's thoughts came after the B's played in their final game of the tournament, where the team found themselves up against a New Jersey squad that featured three of the Devils' first-round draft picks - Jack Hughes (first overall in 2019), Ty Smith (17th overall in 2018) and Michael McLeod (12th overall in 2016.)

But it was Ludvig Larsson who lifted New Jersey to a win on Monday, scoring with eight seconds left in regulation and again in overtime to help the Devils to their first win of the tournament.

The game was hard-fought, and winger Cameron Hughes eventually left the ice after sustaining an injury.

"Unfortunately, Cam took a skate in the face, he's cut so he's got a lot of dental work ahead of him," said Sweeney. "So, I feel bad for him there, but we'll get him home as soon as possible and make sure our doctors are doing what they have to do."

Game highlights included goals from Scott Conway and Dante Hannoun, while Keyser and Taylor Gauthier split time in the net for Boston and Andersson made his first tournament appearance.

Andersson assists in tournament debut

After sitting out the first two games of the tournament due to illness, Andersson found his way into the lineup for the third and final game of the tournament.

The impact was immediate, as the second-round draft pick assisted on the Bruins' first goal to help the Black and Gold even up the score in the first period. Hannoun dropped a pass to Andersson near the net of goaltender Evan Cormier, but the puck bounced off the netminder instead.

Vaakanainen collected the loose puck and passed it to Hannoun, who finished it off for the Bruins' first goal of the game with Andersson and Vaakanainen earning assists on the goal.

Hannoun stands out

Hannoun had a strong impact for the Bruins in the tournament, as the winger scored three points through two tournament games. Both of his previous points were scored on Saturday night - and on Monday, the 5-foot-6 winger produced the game-tying goal.

"I've seen him play in the Western league and our guys have as well," said Sweeney. "You know, effective player, obviously size doesn't seem to bother him. He knows the areas of the ice, he's quick, he can dart, effective on the power play as well.

"He's signed as a depth player for us, battling for a spot in Providence, if not he'll start in Atlanta with (Atlanta Gladiators head coach Jeff Pyle) down there. I think we're excited with what he can bring to the table here."

Conway goes ahead

Conway played in two of the tournament's three games this weekend, and both times he managed to score a go-ahead goal.

On Friday against the Penguins, soon after Studnicka's game-tying goal in the second period, Conway gave the Bruins their first lead of the game off assists from Joona Koppanen and Cooper Zech.

The Providence College standout didn't play in Saturday's 4-3 loss to the Sabres, but he returned to the lineup on Monday against the Devils and replicated his performance from Friday. After a stuffed breakaway attempt from Jakub Lauko resulted in a power play for the Bruins, Conway headlined a tic-tac-toe effort from Studnicka and defenseman Zech to put the B's in the lead.

It wasn't until late in regulation when the Devils would respond, with Larsson's overtime goal lifting New Jersey to a win. 

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