A day after opening play in the 2014 Traverse City NHL Prospects Tournament and failing to finish things out for a win, the Wild prospects took a step forward Saturday afternoon with a 4-3 overtime victory against the Blues.
Working on a four-on-three power play in the extra session, free agent signee and defenseman Christian Folin sent home the game-winner. Folin also played some big minutes throughout the game and was heavily relied on down the stretch, according to Director of Player Development Brad Bombardir.
“I thought he had a really strong game for us,” Bombardir said. “I thought he showed up, played well and did some good things. And got better from yesterday. That’s the most important thing.”
While Folin’s effort earned him star of the game honors from Bombardir, the whole team put together a better product on the ice.
“The guys came out with a great effort,” Bombardir said. “That was certainly part of the conversation going into the game. We had to be a little bit more aggressive and a little bit more on our toes. The guys came out and played hard, finished their checks early and we were able generate some offense early in the game.”
That offense largely came from the blue liners. Gustav Olofsson opened scoring with his first tally of the tournament, netting a feed from forward Tyler Graovac. Dumba made it a 2-0 lead early in the second as invitee Ryan Walters picked up his second assist of the game.
After Dumba’s tally, the Wild did stumble as the Blues netted two goals in the frame to even things for a time. Minnesota found its footing and took a 3-2 lead into the third as Walters netted his third goal of the tournament and his third point of the game.
Though Minnesota was able to bounce back in the second, St. Louis centerman Robby Fabbri tied things up, 3-3, with a power play goal late in the third, forcing overtime. The goal was Fabbri’s second of the game, as he put the blues on the board in the second.
“I owe the guys credit, we kept ourselves honest,” Bombardir said. “We didn’t get some good hops and we made some mistakes with the puck, when that was all said and done the guys rallied on the bench and bounced back and went back to their game. That was a really positive sign.”
Another key positive was the play of netminder Johan Gustafsson. He faced 32 shots, turning aside 29, while Minnesota put 22 shots on goal. Bombardir noted that Gustafsson had some key stops early in the game.
With a break in action Sunday, the Wild is set to play Detroit on Monday at 6 p.m.