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5 things learned from CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game

Foerster impresses with two goals, assist; Lafreniere looking to make Quebec history

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / Staff Writer

HAMILTON, Ontario -- Tyson Foerster, No. 41 in NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking of North American skaters eligible for the 2020 NHL Draft, had two goals and an assist to help Team White to a 5-3 win against Team Red in the 2020 Kubota CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game at FirstOntario Centre on Thursday.

Foerster, a 6-foot-1, 194-pound forward with Barrie in the Ontario Hockey League, was named player of the game for Team White.

Cole Perfetti (No. 4) had a goal and an assist, Kaiden Guhle (No. 7) and Braden Schneider (No. 8) each scored, and Connor Zary (No. 12) had three assists for Team White. Samuel Hlavaj (No. 3; North American goalies) allowed two goals on 13 shots, and Dylan Garand (No. 7; North American goalies) allowed one goal on 11 shots.

Alexis Lafreniere, the projected No. 1 pick in the 2020 draft, had two shots on goal and a goal disallowed on video review because Team White was offside.

Jeremie Poirier (No. 16) had a goal and an assist, and Jack Quinn (No. 9) and Dawson Mercer (No. 6) each scored for Team Red. Brock Gould (No. 4; North American goalies) allowed four goals on 31 shots. Goalie Nicolas Daws (No. 1) was a late scratch after sustaining an upper-body injury earlier in the day. He is day-to-day.

Here are 5 things learned from the 2020 Top Prospects Game:


Lafreniere impressed by Kane

Lafreniere is proud to be from Quebec and excited about the opportunity of becoming the first Quebec-raised prospect to go No. 1 in the NHL Draft since Marc-Andre Fleury was selected the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2003.

He's also hoping one day to get a chance to meet his favorite NHL player, Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks.

"Just his creativity on the ice and offensively with the puck, he's just so good," Lafreniere said. "He creates plays and scores goals and is fun to watch. I've never met him before, but it would be an honor."

Lafreniere's favorite NHL moment as a fan was Kane's overtime goal to defeat the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 6 of the 2010 Stanley Cup Final. The Blackhawks won the series, 4-2.

"That's a big moment," Lafreniere said. "Growing up, he was my biggest role model and that OT goal was something. I've watched it a couple times and it's still fun to watch."


Finding Foerster

Foerster felt his performance rivaled his most memorable hockey moment when he scored six points (three goals, three assists) for Barrie in a win against Mississauga on Sept. 28.

"This is a huge game, so I think, obviously, this is a really good game to come out and play like I did," Foerster said.

Foerster leads Barrie with career-high 48 points (21 goals, 27 assists) and 10 power-play goals in 38 games this season.

"I think my skating has improved, along with my confidence with and without the puck," Foerster said. "My shot is my real strength right now but so is my vision. I can make some pretty good plays out there."

Foerster was asked if he felt his effort would have made Hockey Hall of Famer Dale Hawerchuk proud. Hawerchuk was Barrie's coach from 2010-11 until Sept. 3, when the team announced he was taking a leave of absence for medical reasons. Hawerchuk revealed that he had stomach cancer about six weeks later.

"Yes, I think Dale would be proud of me, for sure," Foerster said.


European invasion

Four skaters in the game played outside North America last season.

Forward Vasily Ponomarev (5-10, 178; No. 29) played for Krylia Sovetov Moskva in Russia before joining Shawinigan of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League this season. He has 33 points (14 goals, 19 assists) and 98 shots on goal in 35 games for Shawinigan.

"Everything is different between Russia and Canada, more forecheck, more active game, but it's a good experience for me," Ponomarev said.

Defenseman Christoffer Sedoff (6-1, 193; No. 50) of Red Deer (WHL) played for HIFK's junior team in Finland last season and had three assists in 32 games. He has adapted well to the rinks in North American, evidenced by his 15 points (three goals, 12 assists), three power-play goals and 69 shots on goal in 41 games as a rookie for Red Deer.

Defenseman Kasper Puutio (5-11, 184; No. 84) of Everett (WHL) spent last season with Karpat's junior team in Finland. He has 16 points (one goal, 15 assists) and 59 shots on goal in 35 games for Everett.

Defenseman Thimo Nickl (6-2, 176; No. 51) of Drummondville (QMJHL) played for his hometown Klagenfurter AC II in Austria last season. Nickl has 25 points (six goals, 19 assists) in 36 games with Drummondville.


Stars align for Austria

There were two Austria-born and trained players competing in the CHL Top Prospects Game for the first time in history.

Nickl and Ottawa center Marco Rossi (5-9, 183; No. 5) live six hours apart in Austria but were teammates for Team Red.

Rossi, who leads the OHL with 74 points (26 goals, 48 assists) in 32 games, is from Feldkirch.

"For the first time there's two Austria players at the top prospects game, so it's great, and able to talk German, too," Rossi said. "The last time we got to play together was on the national team when we were 16."

Nickl is from Klagenfurt.

"This is pretty big for hockey in Austria, to have two players in this game, because now young players in our country see getting to this level is possible," Nickl said.

Austria, which won the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship Division I-A tournament in December, will replace Kazakhstan in the top tournament of the 2021 World Junior Championship. It will be the first time Austria will participate at the top level since the 2010 WJC.


Foudy aces on-ice tests

Jean-Luc Foudy, No. 20 in NHL Central Scouting's midterm rankings of North American skaters eligible for the 2020 NHL Draft, finished first in three of 10 on-ice categories.

Foudy (5-foot-11, 174 pounds), a right-shot center for Windsor (OHL), placed first in transition agility, transition agility with puck and reaction with puck, and second in 30-meter forward skate and 30-meter forward skate with puck. Sarnia right wing Jacob Perreault (5-11, 200; No. 17) finished second in the on-ice testing and Sudbury center Quinton Byfield (6-4, 215; No. 2) was third.

"Speed is my main thing and a lot of the testing was speed, so it was kind of meant for me," Foudy said.

Spokane (WHL) center Jack Finley (6-6, 213; No. 46) was first in the off-ice testing in seven different areas. He finished first in medicine ball toss and right-hand grip strength. Byfield was second in off-ice exams.

Gould (6-5, 201) of Victoria (WHL) was first among goalies after a strong showing in reaction, agility and movement tests.



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