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NHL Draft

5 things learned from USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game

Forward Paul Washe has big night; goalies Dayton Rasmussen, Cayden Primeau excel

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Paul Washe scored two goals to lead Team West to a 4-0 victory against Team East in the USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game at Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, on Tuesday.

Dayton Rasmussen and Cayden Primeau combined for the shutout, the first in the game's five-year history.

The game featured 40 of the top 2017 NHL Draft-eligible players from the United States Hockey League. There were more than 100 NHL scouts in attendance, according to the USHL, which announced a game-record attendance of 8,133.

Here are 5 things we learned from the USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game:

 

1. Washe's big night

Washe, a 6-foot-1, 191-pound center was named the most valuable player for Team West after his two-goal game.

Nick Swaney gave Team West a 1-0 lead at 4:06 of the first period; 1:17 later, Washe made it 2-0 when he tipped a point shot by defenseman John St. Ivany past goaltender Maksim Zhukov.

At 7:50 of the second period, Washe picked up a loose puck and scored from the high slot to give Team West a 3-0 lead.

Washe has eight goals and 17 points in 26 games with Tri-City. He earned a C rating from NHL Central Scouting in its players to watch list.

 

2. Goalies steal the show

Rasmussen started the game for Team West and made 14 saves in 31:33 of game action. His best save was one of his final ones, when he stopped John Leonard on a short breakaway with 9:51 remaining in the second period.

Primeau made 11 saves in 28:27 of ice time.

Rasmussen, who plays for Tri-City, is a B-rated goaltender by NHL Central Scouting. Primeau, the son of former Philadelphia Flyers captain Keith Primeau and plays for Lincoln, also got a B rating.

Petruzzelli stopped all 21 shots he faced in 27:15 of ice time in relief of Zhukov and was named MVP for Team East. He's the first goaltender to win the MVP award in the five USHL/NHL Top Prospect Games. Petruzzelli, who plays for Muskegon, is a B-rated goaltender.

Zhukov made 11 goals on 14 shots in 31:33 of ice time. The Green Bay goaltender also earned a B rating.

 

3. Bowers makes an impact

Shane Bowers, the lone A-rated player in the game, had two shots on goal for Team West. Bowers, a 6-1, 183-pound center, has 22 points in 30 games for Waterloo.

Bowers said he considers himself a two-way center and compares his style of play to Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews.

"He is a difference maker because he is a highly skilled power forward who has an excellent work ethic," Central Scouting's David Gregory said. "He handles the puck very well and is an effective passer. He plays a power-forward game and can create turnovers and scoring chances using his size and strength. He has deceiving speed when carrying the puck on the attack. When combining this with his work ethic and puck skills he can have an impact on every shift and projects very well as a NHL prospect."

Sioux City forward Eeli Tolvanen, also an A-rated prospect, was scheduled to play in the game but had to withdraw because of an injury sustained playing for Finland at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship.

 

4. Quercia sends the fans home happy

Team West forward Matthew Quercia plays for Sioux Falls, so the Denny Sanford Premier Center is his home rink. He closed the scoring with an empty-net goal with 1:54 left in the third period. Quercia also had an assist on Washe's second-period goal.

Quercia was one of three Sioux Falls players in the game. Defenseman Kasper Kotkansalo had three shots on goal and was plus-1; St. Ivany had the primary assist on Washe's first goal and was plus-1.

 

5. Boston University a big winner

Bowers was one of three Boston University recruits playing Tuesday. Also committed to BU are Quercia and Kotkansalo.

Boston University, which is 12-5-2 and fourth in Hockey East, had seven players take part in the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship. Six of the seven played for the gold medal-winning United States.

There also were three players committed to the University of Minnesota Duluth playing Tuesday: Swaney and defenseman Mikey Anderson of Waterloo, and Fargo center Charlie Dovorany, all of whom played for Team West.

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