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Wild Prospects Iced In Third Place Game

by Eric Walsh / Minnesota Wild
The Minnesota Wild fell to the Atlanta Thrashers 3-1 on Tuesday night in the 2007 NHL Centre I.C.E. Prospects Tournament third-place game at Traverse City, Michigan. The Wild controlled play, but was unable to capitalize on numerous opportunities.

“We outshot Atlanta 36-19 (10-5, 11-5 and 15-9 by period),” Minnesota Assistant General Manager Tom Thompson said. “We hit two goal posts and missed open nets. [The Thrashers] first two goals were really lucky, and sometimes that’s just the way it is. Right after the game our General Manager, Doug (Risebrough), congratulated everyone. We liked everything about the game, except the result.”

Benoit Pouliot scored the lone goal for the Wild, an unassisted shorthander, at the 12:26 mark in the third period to cut the Atlanta lead to 2-1. For Pouliot, it was his team-leading fifth point, and second goal of the tournament.

The Thrashers iced third place in the Tournament with a power play goal late in the third period. At 12:36 in the opening period, Atlanta managed to open the scoring the same way it finished things off – with a power play goal.

“Shots through traffic were ricocheting into the net,” Thompson said of the Wild power play killing unit. “It wasn’t because of Atlanta’s pressure, we had good coverage. All of the sudden [Atlanta] would take a shot and the puck went in.”

The Thrashers took a 2-0 advantage with the only even strength goal of the contest in the second period. Anton Khudobin made 16 stops for Minnesota in net.

Following the game, it was announced that a total of six prospect tournament tryouts – F Moises Gutierrez, F Tyler Hirsch, D Jeff May, D Maxim Noreau, D Frederic St. Denis, and D A.J. Thelen – have been invited to participate in the 2007 Minnesota Wild Training Camp, which begins at 10:00 AM Friday (Sept. 14) at Xcel Energy Center.

“A lot of guys earned their way into the big camp with their performances, particularly in the last couple games,” Thompson said. “We played 12 periods total, and played well in 10 of them, so we were very pleased overall. The last two periods of the Columbus game were not good, but the first period was excellent.”

Injury Report:

Minnesota wasn’t quite able to skate away from the prospects tournament unscathed. D Paul Albers and Gutierrez are dealing with injuries.

Albers, who recorded his lone tournament point, an assist, in Friday’s outing against Dallas, is listed as day-to-day with a neck problem that was suffered during the second period of Monday’s win over St. Louis.

Gutierrez pulled a hamstring in Saturday’s game against Columbus, but skated a bit yesterday. Thompson is “cautiously optimistic about him.” The tryout player, posted two goals in each of his first two tournament outings.

“I give Gutierrez a lot of credit,” Thompson said. “He probably had four chances and scored four goals. Two of them were big-league shots. One was a deflection that went off his leg and the other he was right on the lip of the crease to bang in a rebound.”

Prospects Tournament Scoring Summary:

F Beniot Pouliot (2-3=5)
F Cal Clutterbuck (2-2=4)
F Moises Gutierrez (4-0=4)
F Danny Irmen (3-0=3)
F Tyler Hirsch (2-1=3)
F A.J. Thelen (0-3=3)
D Jeff May (0-3=3)
F Ondrej Fiala (0-2=2)
F James Sheppard (1-1=2)
F Ryan Graham (0-2=2)
F Morten Madsen (0-2=2)
D Maxim Noreau (0-2=2)
D Frederic St. Denis (0-2=2)
F Ryan Hamilton (1-0=1)
F Carson McMillan (1-0=1)
D Paul Albers (0-1=1)
D Ryan Pottruff (0-1=1)

F Matt Kassian, F Cody Almond, F Riley Emmerson, D Justin Falk, and D Matt McCue went pointless.

G Anton Khudobin (3 GP, 1-2 record, 14 GA, 66 SV, 4.67 GAA)
G Miroslav Kopriva (1 GP, 1-0 record, 1 GA, 26 SV, 1.00 GAA)
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