The Blues jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first two periods before the Hurricanes were able to dent the scoreboard. By that point, the Canes were unable to mount a comeback, as they recorded their second straight fourth-place tournament finish.
“Our execution wasn’t real high because our energy storage was low. I think it was the first time that a lot of these guys have played this much hockey in this short a time, and it showed,” head coach Mark Morris said. “We had a few flashes there, but other than that, they took it to us pretty good.”
A day prior, the Hurricanes leapt out to a 5-0 lead on the Chicago Blackhawks before the defending Stanley Cup Champion’s prospects made it an interesting game in the third period. Tonight, it was the Blues who had the early jump on the sleepy Hurricanes.
“We got a big lead yesterday and it dwindled, and today we never really recaptured that fire that we had at the beginning of the game yesterday,” Morris said. “We lost our way early, and it was hard to recover.”
“I thought yesterday we came out strong and put them on their heels, and I think they did that to us today,” Phil Di Giuseppe said. “We weren’t able to respond until late in the second period.”
When the Canes did respond late in the second period, it was the aforementioned Di Giuseppe potting a power-play goal, his third tally of the tournament.
But compared to a game prior, the Canes didn’t have the sharp execution or methodical drive up the ice to push St. Louis back into their own zone; the energy drain from playing four games in five days seemed to creep into the team’s game.
“It’s been awhile since I’ve seen four games in five nights. A lot of these guys are coming from junior programs and such, and they’ve never had to concentrate for that long,” Morris said. “When you’re fresh and focused, good things happen and vice versa.”
“It’s obviously hard [to play four games in five days]. It’s summertime, and even if you are skating, you’re not in contact situations,” Di Giuseppe said. “You’ve got to adjust to it, but they’re playing the same way. There’s really no excuse.”
One game, however, can’t be the judge of a four-game, nearly weeklong tournament. Overall, the Hurricanes have to be pleased with what they saw in Traverse City: there are some young, quick forwards who show promise, and the organization’s depth on defense is immensely impressive.
“Big picture, I think there were a lot of pluses. We were adapting to some of the systems and style of hockey that we want to play. When we executed, it was fun to watch and we scored a pile of goals,” Morris said. “I think the guys learned some lessons about the fact that you have to bring it more and more against higher caliber competition. You really can’t take any shifts off, and hopefully the guys take that lesson from this experience.”
Now, 20 of the 22 that donned a Hurricanes sweater in this tournament will head to Raleigh for training camp, which begins on-ice Friday, the next step in their road to the National Hockey League.
“[You need to] bring a fast-paced game into camp and prove to management why you’re there,” Di Giuseppe said.
2015-16 PROSPECTS TOURNAMENT
|DATE ||VISITOR ||HOME ||TIME / RESULT |
|FRI SEP 11, 2015 ||RED WINGS ||HURRICANES ||1-0 |
|SAT SEP 12, 2015 ||HURRICANES ||STARS ||5-4 (OT) |
|MON SEP 14, 2015 ||BLACKHAWKS ||HURRICANES ||5-7 |
|TUE SEP 15, 2015 ||BLUES ||HURRICANES ||5-1 |
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