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Early offense, stable defense guides Coyotes' prospects to victory

Arizona's three-goal first period lays the groundwork for Sunday's win

by Alex Kinkopf @AEKinkopf / Arizona Coyotes

Another strong start drove the Coyotes to a 3-2 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday afternoon at Great Park Ice in Irvine, CA.

Arizona is now 1-1 in the 2019 Anaheim Rookie Faceoff tournament.

BOX SCORE: ARI (3) vs. VGK (2) - GAME #2

Sunday's performance epitomized a complete effort. Though it was the prospects' power play that stood out in the first game on Saturday, a strong penalty kill is what held the foundation in the club's second game to support its first period offensive outburst.

The Coyotes' early scoring was initiated by Barret Hayton, who deposited a wrist shot to the top-right corner from the left faceoff dot just over four minutes into the contest, letting go with a quick release upon being set-up by line-mates Nick Merkley and Brayden Burke.

Nate Schnarr added two goals to give the Coyotes a 3-0 first period lead, his first coming via a quick turnaround wrister from the top of the slot after receiving a pass from Cam Dineen, and his second a fine display of hand-eye coordination to redirect a Brady Lyle point shot.

Schnarr played a spectacular two-way game, his presence unquestionably dynamic in the offensive zone, leading all Coyotes players in shots with six. Arizona outshot Vegas by a 37-22 count.

The Coyotes fended off numerous Vegas power plays, successfully killing off eight of the Golden Knights' 10 man advantage situations to protect their lead throughout.

Goaltender Ivan Prosvetov stopped 20 of the 22 shots he faced.

Barret Hayton, on the team's performance:

"I think overall we played a more complete game than our first game, and I think that's expected. The first game, with a lot of new guys who haven't played in this tournament before, you're looking to get a feel, and it's also the first game since the end of the summer, so I think guys were feeling better today, which showed in our performance."

Hayton, on assessing his overall play:

"I feel great. Both games, I've liked a lot of aspects of my game and I've felt great coming back from the summer, really good actually, and I want to keep that going."

Hayton, on scoring; describing the sequence of his goal:

"It's always nice to get one in, maybe to get things rolling and to get a feel for putting it in the back of the net again. As for the goal itself, there was pretty great structure there, our defense did a great job of holding the puck in the zone that led to [Burke] and [Merkley] making a quick passing play. They kicked it to me in the slot, primetime scoring area. They did the work, I just reaped the rewards."

Nate Schnarr, on his approach to Sunday's game:

"I just tried to focus on the defensive side of the puck. A big thing, for me, coming into this tournament, was to show the coaches that I'm reliable and strong in the dots, so that's what I tried to focus on in the game, the rest will come. Obviously I'm also trying to prove that I have some offensive talent, but the focus is to be a complete, reliable player."

Schnarr, on establishing front-net presence, his linemates:

"I think the higher you go, the harder it's going to be to score goals, and a lot of goals are scored out in front of the net. There was a great pass from Cam [Dineen] on the first one; I thought our line had a lot of chemistry, [Liam] Kirk found me with a pass that I should've buried and [Valentin] Nussbaumer was all over the place, I could've had four [goals] in the first because of their help, it was a lot of fun out there."

Schnarr, on what he's taken away from the first two tournament games:

"I think we have a really strong group here. If you look at our first unit, our first line, they're so talented. They make a lot of plays, the way they move the puck is incredible. Seeing the strength of the players out here compared to juniors, it's just going to take more compete from me and a period of adjustment, but I'm looking forward to all of it."

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