|Michael Houser played the final period and a half. |
In front of a crowd of over 10,000 fans at the Wells Fargo Center, the Flyers rookies pulled out a close one with a 3-2 victory over the Washington Capitals rookies.
After falling behind 1-0 midway through the first period, the Flyers used three second-period goals to jump out to a 3-1 lead and never looked back behind the goaltending duo of Brad Phillips and Michael Houser.
Phillips got the start in net for the Flyers rookies, turning aside 13 of 14 shots in 30 minutes of play, while Houser picked up where he left off by denying 11 of 12 shots, including many in the final minute of action when the Caps had six men attacking.
Continuing a theme of players standing out in the annual rookie tilt, recently signed defenseman Blake Kessel recorded an assist on the Flyers first goal by Tyler Brown
and potted a power-play goal by pinching in from the blue line to knock in a rebound.
Holmgren I Schenn I Couturier I Kessel
“Yeah, I love the aggressive play and I’d like to get up and play them again,” said Kessel. “They play an up tempo game and I love that type of style. Like I said, I’m just happy about being here and I’m looking to keep improving my game.”
Brown’s goal to tie the game up at 1-1 was perhaps the most impressive of the night. After taking a feed from Kessel, Brown used his power and speed through center ice and went around a defender to fire a puck past the Washington goaltender.
Eighth overall pick Sean Couturier
experience his first taste of NHL action as well.
“I think overall it went well and I tried to keep it simple and pay attention to little details. Keep it simple and I think our line played pretty good actually,” said Couturier. “My first few steps, explosion, my skating, it’s something I’ve needed since I was little and I’m working on and hopefully I get better in the next few weeks and years, and try to work on it.
Thomas Hyka, the 5’10’’, 158-pound left wing from the Czech Republic sealed the win for the Flyers rookies, scoring with 24 seconds left in the second period to put the Flyers up for good.
The game was not without fisticuffs though. On three separate occasions, the Flyers and Caps dropped the gloves, including a bout after the second period horn had sounded between hometown prospect Tyler Hostetter
and the Capitals Danek Paquette.
The Flyers defense held the fort in the third period however to reclaim victory in the annual match up after suffering a 4-3 loss in Arlington, Va. last season.
Over the past five seasons, the Flyers now own the series by a 3 games to 2 edge, with each team now winning on home ice. Should the series continue, the Flyers will take on the Caps in Washington in 2012.