The Minnesota Wild prospects closed out the Traverse City Prospects Tournament on a high note, and an offensive outburst, winning the fifth-place game handily against the New York Rangers’ prospects. The Wild posted a half dozen goals, including a hat trick by free agent signee Zack Mitchell
(according to Wild Assistant General Manager Brent Flahr, scoring online is incorrect as Mitchell scored the team’s final goal), on its way to a 6-3 win.
The Wild got off to a good start, scoring twice in the opening period on the power play. The team finished the contest with four goals on the man advantage.
“When you score four power play goals in a game, you’re doing something right,” Wild Assistant General Manager Brent Flahr said. “They were doing a lot of things right tonight, came out hard and special teams was a big part of it.”
Mitchell was the team’s catalyst and Flahr’s star of the game. He scored twice on the power play, and added the game’s fifth to ice it for the Wild.
“He’s a smart player and knows how to finish in space,” Flahr said. “It is what he did well this past year, and is why we signed him.”
Brady Brassart opened the scoring on the power play at the game’s 12:35 mark. It was the 21-year-old’s first goal of the tournament. Raphael Bussieres and Christian Folin picked up the assists.
However, the lead was short lived, as the Rangers responded just 13 seconds later. Kevin Hayes put the puck past Wild netminder Brandon Whitney.
The Wild ended the first on a high note. With only 40 seconds remaining in the first, Matt Dumba broke the tie on the power play. The goal was unassisted and his second of the tournament. Dumba finished the tournament with five points (2-3=5).
Late in the second period, Minnesota extended its lead on Mitchell’s first of the game. The goal gave the Wild a two-goal cushion at the 2:26 mark of the middle frame. Picking up assists were Dumba and Ryan Walters. It was the lone goal of the second.
However, Mitchell was just getting started. He scored his second of the game with 3:56 into the third period. Assisting on the goal was Tyler Graovac.
Three minutes later the fireworks started.
The Rangers responded after the Mitchell goal to pull within one, scoring back-to-back at 13:34 and 11:06 on tallies from Ryan Haggerty and Anthony Duclair, respectively.
However, it was as close as the Blueshirts would get. Minnesota answered with its own two-goal outburst less than three minutes apart, with Mitchell getting the cincher (online the goal was credited to Ryan Graham and assisted by Mitchell, but should be flipped). Graovac added his first of the tournament with 5:50 left in the contest. Graovac finished the tournament with four points (1-3=4).
Flahr was happy with the performance of the team’s top prospects.
“Dumba, Folin and Graovac all played well,” Flahr said. “We expect a lot of things from them and they showed it here.”
The assistant GM also thought that a pair of late-round picks stepped up their game as the tournament went on.
“Reid Duke and Pavel Jenys showed a lot in this tournament,” Flahr said. He noted that Jenys played his way onto the top line and delivered, adding an assist on the Graovac goal.