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Coyotes Prospects Thriving on Many Levels

by Dave Vest / Arizona Coyotes

GLENDALE – Coyotes prospect Connor Murphy and his Team USA teammates will go for the gold on Saturday at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship in Ufa, Russia.

USA advanced to the title game by beating Canada, 5-1, in the semifinals on Thursday.

Connor Murphy

“That one felt good,” Murphy tweeted via his official Twitter account (@Cmurphy5). “Great team win. Can't wait for Saturday.”

Murphy, a defenseman whom the Coyotes selected with the 20th overall pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, has quietly played well in this tournament. He is plus-5 in six games, and he has chipped in one assist and seven shots on goal.

The gold medal game is scheduled for 6 a.m. (AZ time) on Saturday. NHL Network will broadcast the game live and will provide a live stream.

Murphy was born in Boston and grew up in Ohio. His father Gord is a former NHL player who now is a coach with the Florida Panthers.

Meanwhile, several other Coyotes prospects also are thriving for their respective teams.

• Mark Visentin, the backup goalie for the Coyotes’ affiliate in the American Hockey League, has won his past four starts and allowed just three goals in those games. On Wednesday, he made 48 saves to lead the Portland Pirates to a 2-1 win over Providence – the team’s ninth win in its past 10 games.

"The big thing for me is taking practice every day as a chance to get better," Visentin told the Portland Press Herald. "Ever since the beginning of the season, I've tried to go out there and work as hard as I can and stay focused."

The Coyotes selected Visentin with the 27th overall pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.

• Portland Pirates center Andy Miele has scored five goals in his past seven games - this after scoring just five goals in his first 25 games of the season.

• Wednesday’s victory enabled the Pirates to take a three-point lead over second-place Worcester in the AHL’s Atlantic Division standings. The Pirates have been winning despite playing without top defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson the past three games. Ekman-Larsson has been nursing a lower-body injury that is not considered too serious.

• Like Visentin, goaltending prospect Louis Domingue is playing well in his first season as a pro.

Domingue, whom the Coyotes selected with the 138th overall pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, has won 10 of 13 starts for the ECHL’s Gwinnett Gladiators and has posted a 2.75 goals-against average this season.

Henrik Samuelsson

• And last but not least, forward Henrik Samuelsson, who honed his hockey skills as a young player right here in Arizona, notched his first career hat trick on Monday to lead the Edmonton Oil Kings to a 6-2 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings in a Western Hockey League game.

Samuelsson, a son of former Coyotes Associate Coach Ulf Samuelsson, leads the first-place Oil Kings – and ranks 12th in the WHL - with 22 goals in 38 games.

Samuelsson played locally in the PF Chang’s Hockey Program.

“We just knew he was a special kid from when he first came in with us,” Mike DeAngelis, who coached Samuelsson during his time in the program, said after the Coyotes selected Samuelsson with the 27th overall pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. “We’re not surprised by his rapid development and rapid growth to where he stands today.”

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