stopped 30 shots and the Minnesota Wild scored three goals in the game’s final nine minutes to come back and defeat the host Detroit Red Wings 3-1 in the championship game of the Traverse City Prospects Tournament Wednesday night.
“It’s a great accomplishment for these guys,” said Assistant General Manager Brent Flahr. “Obviously it’s just a rookie tournament, but they take a lot of pride in it. It’s a great opportunity for our guys to come together as a unit, play in a group, and a bunch of guys stepped up… We’ll take as many winners as we can in the organization. It’s a great start to the season.”
The first period came and went without any score, but wasn’t short on action. Each team had a number of good scoring chances and the net minders were up to the task. Detroit goalie Thomas McCollum made six saves while Hackett turned in nine.
The score remained deadlocked until Sebastien Piche gave Detroit the lead off a broken play midway through the second period. The Wild had an odd-man rush, but an ill-timed turnover sent the Red Wings back with numbers of their own. Willie Coetzee corralled the puck and moved it up to Landon Ferraro who dished it back to Piche and the defenseman promptly fired one past Hackett for the 1-0 lead.
Detroit had the lead and momentum going into the third period, but the Wild stepped up and played with a lot of energy in hopes of getting back into the game and it did just that. After receiving the puck from Marco Scandella
, Cody Almond
beat his defenseman and fired a hard shot past the Detroit goalie, knotting the score at one with nine minutes to play in the game.
Not content with tying the game, the Wild continued to apply the pressure and were rewarded with a goal five minutes later. With a lot of bodies up front, J.T. Barnett found a loose puck and buried it top shelf to give Minnesota a 2-1 advantage.
The Wild were then able to seal the victory when Scandella drilled a shot from the point off a nice passing play from Casey Wellman and Brandon Buck. The Red Wings applied pressure for the final minute and a half, but were unable to solve Hackett and the Wild skated out of Traverse City as 3-1 winners and tournament champions.
The loss avenges the Wild’s 4-0 defeat to the Carolina Hurricanes in last year’s title game. FLAHR'S STARS:1. Matt Hackett –
The goaltender made 30 saves and when the team was a little flat and looked tired to start the game he really stepped up.
2. Cody Almond –
He provided a lot of leadership and scored the big goal to get the Wild on the board.
3. Marco Scandella –
This could have gone to a number of different players, but Scandella gets the nod. He had the big shot, played physical, and tallied an assist on Almond’s goal.
Try-Out Player of the Game:J.T. Barnett –
He scored the game winner and was big with energy. He’s a goal scorer in juniors. We were talking about him scoring a big goal before the game and he did. Flahr's Top Play:
It’s got to be Scandella’s goal. Wellman made a real nice play to get the puck back to him and he had a cannon from the point. He can shoot the puck a ton. Flahr's Key Takeaway:
We were a tired team today, but the leaders stepped up, showed a lot of resolve, and the defense played hard. The guys just found a way to win. Obviously, Hackett was a big part of that too, but I thought they really competed.