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Rookies Prepare for Back-to-Back Tournament Games

Arizona will play Colorado on Monday, San Jose on Tuesday

by Dave Vest @davest4yotes / Coyotes Sr. Director of News Content

SAN JOSE - Arizona rookies skated on Sunday to prepare for their final two games at the Prospect Showcase, a four-team, round-robin tournament being hosted by the San Jose Sharks at their practice facility. 

The Coyotes played their first tournament game on Saturday night and lost, 4-1, to the Anaheim Ducks rookies. Arizona will play Colorado on Monday (7 p.m.) and San Jose on Tuesday (3 p.m.). Both games will be live streamed at ArizonaCoyotes.com.

"We'll just keep moving," said Mike Van Ryn, who is serving as head coach for the Coyotes rookies at this event. "We don't want to give them too much to think about right now. We want to see guys that can think and play the game. We don't want to make them robots at this point. We've got NHL training camp and AHL training camp (coming up) to get systems in order. Right now we'll just let them play and see what they've got and see their instincts and try to keep them comfortable."

Twenty-nine players are competing for Arizona at this year's Rookie Camp, including three with NHL games on their resumes. Two of them, Dylan Strome and Clayton Keller, played in Saturday's game. The third, Christian Fischer, did not play vs. Anaheim, but will play on Monday when the Coyotes play the Avalanche.

"I'm just trying to be a leader," Fisher said of his mind-set at Rookie Camp "… And I'm just trying to show what I'm worth. We've got a whole new coaching staff in the AHL and the NHL, so it's first impression time. So, I'll just play my game and try to dominate these games and then take it day by day. The goal is to just keep moving on, getting better each day."

Fischer played seven games for the Coyotes in 2016-17. He scored three goals - on his first three NHL shots. He's eager to return to the League this season, but before that he'll focus on Rookie Camp. He has enjoyed the first few days and senses a positive vibe around the team.

"If you look at the other rosters here, there's a couple (of players with) '93 and '94 birth years," Fischer said, "We have a real young team, so it's real energetic and everyone is yapping and having a good time. We're here to win. There's a good energy around the room. Everyone's getting along so it should be a fun couple of games here."

Video: Fischer: "It's like a Mini NHL Trip"

Meanwhile, Hunter Miska will start in goal. Miska served as Adin Hill's backup for Saturday's game and is the only other goalie at camp.

The Coyotes signed Miska in April after he posted a 27-5-5 record as a freshman at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

"The first couple days of camp have been really good," Miska said. "I was a little bit nervous coming into camp, but I feel pretty good now. It helps seeing a lot of the guys I met here a couple months ago at development camp."

Miska likely will play in the AHL this season, his first as a pro. 

"I've come here to get better every day and work my way up to the NHL," Miska said. "I'll approach my first game (in the tournament) just as I would any other game. I'm going to come in focused and give the team a chance to win."

Other players who did not play on Saturday include forward Lane Pederson and defenseman Cam Dineen. Both are expected to play Monday.

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