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Recap: Canes Can't Match Blackhawks

Carolina will face Minnesota in third-place game on Tuesday

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes /

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. - The Carolina Hurricanes' quest for back-to-back championships at the NHL Prospects Tournament in Traverse City came to abrupt end on Monday night after lopsided 9-2 defeat at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Canes, still winners of two out of three in the round-robin round, will now square off with the Minnesota Wild for third place on Tuesday night.

Video: Traverse City Tournament: CHI vs. CAR Highlights

The lesson? It's a short tournament, and mistakes and a lack of compete in as little as one game are magnified.

"We didn't get any bounces, but we didn't work for any bounces. We weren't ready to play from the get go from the goaltending to the D to the forwards. Nobody was ready to play. You can't have that happen," head coach Mike Vellucci said. "I talked to them about having a good start and being ready to compete. They came right after us on the first shift, competed harder and took it to us for most of the night."

The Blackhawks were playing on tilted ice seemingly from puck drop, as they scored to take a 1-0 lead in the first minute of the game. They kept buzzing and tallied twice more, including one shorthanded, in the period.

The Canes finished the first period unable to convert on eight minutes of power play time and down 3-0, a tough hole to dig out of.

"It's tough, but it shouldn't be that tough in this tournament. We have a lot of skill, but we decided that we were a lot better than we really were," Vellucci said. "We started making turnovers and giving them 4-on-2's and 3-on-2's all night. So many odd-man rushes I can't even count. Tomorrow we'll go through all the turnovers and odd-man rushes, and hopefully we can learn from it."

Managing the puck properly was the message in the room in the first intermission of the team's opening game against Detroit, something the Canes promptly corrected en route to a 6-2 victory.

Video: Nick Schilkey: "Got lazy on pucks"

"It's something we've talked about all weekend. Right from the start it was the turnovers and playing hard on pucks," Nick Schilkey said. "We were lazy on pucks [tonight], and that was the difference."

The Canes cut into the Blackhawks' lead in the second period when Schilkey ripped one that found the back of the net and popped right back out, a power-play marker. Chicago then stretched their lead to four goals by the period's end with goals from Michael Cramarossa and Luc Snuggerud.

The Blackhawks jumped out to a 7-1 advantage in the third period before Noah Carroll's wrist shot from the point found its way through traffic and in. The Blackhawks added a pair of goals, one an empty-netter, in the waning minutes of the game to punch their ticket to the championship match versus Columbus.

The Hurricanes, meanwhile, will take tonight's game and learn from it heading into Tuesday's finale.

"There's a lot to correct. Turnovers, protecting the puck, competing," Vellucci said. "That's simple. If we can compete, the game is a little bit closer than it was. You've got to come ready. When you're pro - and these are guys just turning pro - you have to get up for every game yourself."

Video: Mike Vellucci: "They took it to us"

"We know we have a really good team in here. We have a lot of skill and a lot of compete," Schilkey said. "We know there are a lot of good players here, too. We know what we can do; we've got to just go out and execute."

Puck drop for the Canes and Wild is set for 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, a chance for Carolina to rebound and finish positively before training camp begins on Friday.

"Just turning the page and having a short memory on tonight, knowing what we're capable of and just getting back to our game," Schilkey said as the keys to Tuesday's tilt.

"You've got to find a way to get motivated yourself and be ready. If not, somebody else is going to take your job," Vellucci said. "It's a learning experience, and hopefully we can learn something from today."

2017 NHL Prospects Tournament
Friday, Sept. 8 Hurricanes Red Wings 6-2
Saturday, Sept. 9 Rangers Hurricanes 0-4
Monday, Sept. 11 Blackhawks Hurricanes 9-2
Tuesday, Sept. 12 Wild Hurricanes 6:30 p.m.
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