OSHAWA, Ont. - Cody Eakin of the Swift Current Broncos and David Gilbert of the Quebec Remparts each scored twice to lead Team Orr in a 6-1 victory over Team Cherry in the Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game on Wednesday night.
But the game may be more remembered for a hit on John Tavares, the leading candidate to be taken first overall in this summer's NHL draft. The junior star was slammed into the boards by Zack Kassian of the Peterborough Petes midway through the third period, and Tavares appeared to favour his right shoulder.
He whipped his stick against the ice as he skated off and didn't return. The severity of the injury was unclear, but it was unlikely the phenom would take any risks by returning to play.
Tavares was not on the ice for the post-game ceremonies.
Taylor Doherty of the Kingston Frontenacs also took a run at the MVP of the world junior hockey championships earlier in the third, as the 6-8 defenceman drilled him into the boards from behind. The two also traded blows at the end of the first.
Tavares collected an assist for Team Orr, which also got goals from Taylor Beck of the Guelph Storm and Levko Koper of the Spokane Chiefs in the 14th annual showcase event for NHL draft-eligible players in the Canadian junior ranks.
Cape Breton Screaming Eagles netminder Olivier Roy allowed one goal on 18 shots in his half while Scott Stajcer of the Owen Sound Attack made 25 saves after picking things up at 11:01 of the second.
Nathan Lieuwen of the Kootenay Ice had a long night in goal for Team Cherry, allowing five goals on 18 shots. Saginaw Spirit netminder Edward Pasquale, the top draft-eligible North American goalie according to the NHL Central Scouting Bureau's mid-season rankings, was strong in relief, stopping 20 of 21 shots.
Andrej Nestrasil of the Victoriaville Tigres replied for Team Cherry, as the 40 participants did their best to impress the host of scouts evaluating their every move.
To that end, players typically looked hit first, puck second and anyone with their head down paid a heavy price.
Following the final whistle, Eakin and Pasquale were named players of the game.
Don Cherry, clad in a gaudy plaid blazer visible from every seat in the rink, received a loud ovation from the crowd of 5,510 at General Motors Centre, while Bobby Orr, who starred for the Oshawa Generals years ago and whose No. 2 hangs in the building's rafters, was given a standing ovation.
Similar treatment was given to Tavares, who starred in Oshawa for 3 1-2 years before he was dealt to the London Knights last week. He gave the crowd one reminder of his deft touch, sliding a lovely cross-ice pass to Eakin on a 2-on-1 midway through the second to put Team Orr up 5-1.
Earlier in the second, Gilbert put Team Cherry up 4-1 when he stole the puck from Lieuwen who had played a dump in and scored on a wraparound at 5:46.
Team Orr, after a slow start, took a 3-1 lead into the second period despite not managing its first shot until 12:30 of the first.
Eakin opened the scoring with a nifty effort, dancing in to fire a shot high over Lieuwen's glove at 15:55. Beck made it 2-0 at 18:21 when he made a move in front and while falling swiped the puck through Lieuwen.
Koper made it 3-0 just 43 seconds later, when he took a feed from behind the net by Ryan O'Reilly of the Erie Otters and fired it into an empty goal.
Nestrasil got Team Cherry on the board with 31 seconds left, firing the puck home off a scramble in front.
Notes: Seven players to appear in the game have gone on to be selected first overall, most recently Steven Stamkos by Tampa Bay last year. Tavares hopes to make it eight this summer. ... The rosters featured 16 players from the OHL, 14 from the WHL and 10 from the QMJHL. ... Twenty players from the 2008 game were chosen in the first round of the NHL draft with eight playing in at least one NHL game this season. Five remain in the NHL, Stamkos, Drew Doughty, Zach Bogosian, Alex Pietrangelo and Luke Schenn.