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Rookies go the distance

Flyers rookies off to fast start but fall to Isles, 5-4 in a shootout

by Bill Meltzer @BillMeltzer

In the annual Rookie Game, the Flyers were defeated by the Islanders via shootout, 5-4 at the PPL Center in Allentown on Wednesday night. 

German Rubtsov (even strength and power play goals) Sean Comrie, and David Kase scored for the Flyers. Phil Myers, Morgan Frost, Isaac Ratcliffe, Mikhail Vorobyev, and Matthew Strome collected assists.

Felix Bibeau (power play), David Quenneville Samuel Bolduc (power play) and Otto Koivula scored for the Islanders in regulation. Oliver Wahlstrom bagged the shootout winner for New York.

Below are news, notes & observations from the game that officially marks the end of Rookie Camp:

* The Flyers were outshot by an 18-9 margin in the first period but skated off to intermission with a 2-0 lead. Felix Sandström was outstanding in goal, with numerous tough saves including a breakaway stop. He went on to stop 24 of 25 shots before giving way to Kirill Ustimenko (14 saves on 17 shots in regulation, 4-for-4 in OT, 1-for-2 in shootout).

SANDSTROM: "I like the game over here [in North America]. There's more shots, and it's more direct at the net. I feel well-prepared from this summer. ...The biggest change is more pucks come to the net, and it's faster. More pucks go from one side to the other. A lot of times in Sweden, the pucks end up in the corners."

* From a Flyers standpoint, the first period saw just about every player they'd expect to step up deliver during the opening 20 minutes. The top line trio of Isaac Ratcliffe, Morgan Frost and Joel Farabee was dominant, and Farabee in particular was strong on both sides of the puck. 

JOEL FARABEE: "Right now, I've just got to focus on recovering from this game. It was really hot out there. We've got to get hydrated and stuff like that. I'm just focusing on main camp now, but I'll definitely reflect and see what I can do better.At the end of the day, I've just got to get ready for main camp."

* Phil Myers was confident and aggressive and made a gorgeous setup to Rubtsov on the first goal. Even apart from his goal, Rubtsov made several intelligent plays with the puck, including a nicely conceived controlled entry even after getting bumped at the blueline. From there, there was a drop-off toward the lower part of the Philly lineup but it was still enough to take a 2-0 lead to the locker room.

* The Flyers applied heavy pressure on a power play to open the second period but couldn't pot one. They rectified that on their next man advantage. Matthew Strome centered a pass out to Mikhail Vorobyev and Vorobyev made a picturesque set up that Rubtsov re-directed home for a 3-0 lead. New York soon got the goal back with a power play tally of their own by Felix Bibeau. Sandström was unshaken and finished up strong with another breakaway save.

* A hustling David Kase restored a two-goal lead, stealing the puck, moving across in front and scoring on a glove side wrister from inside the right faceoff dot for an unassisted goal and a 4-2 lead. 

* On a Flyers PK in the third period, Farabee continued his strong night by stealing the puck up-ice and generating a shorthanded scoring chance. The Flyers soon went back to the PK on a Josh Couturier boarding penalty in the neutral zone. Philly survived it. The Isles got the better of play through much of the third stanza but the Flyers got the game to OT.

* OT saw great chances at both ends, including Farabee hitting the post and having a breakaway at the end of his shift. Frost hit the post in the shootout, while Farabee couldn't quite stuff the puck through the five-hole. After Wahlstrom scored for the Islanders, Rubtsov was stoned to end the game.

GORDON (on the top line's frequent dominance): "Some of it was transition, coming out of our zone. A lot of Phil Myers' shifts matched up with those guys, so that helped them. But, honestly, all three of those guys can skate. They've got skill. They can protect the puck well. There's an element of speed there. A lot of things that make entries a lot easier."Video: Farabee, Frost and Sandstrom speak after Rookie Game

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