On the strength of a balanced attack that saw nine different players record points, the Minnesota Wild defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-1 Sunday afternoon in their second game of the Traverse City Prospects Tournament.
“It was a good team effort,” said Wild Assistant GM Brent Flahr, “Guys stuck up for each other. It got a little rough at times, but we played a 60-minute game which is good to see at this point.”
The Wild fell behind when Oliver Gabriel’s rebound goal gave Columbus the lead just 1:38 into the game, but Jarod Palmer
responded four minutes later off of a nice pass in front from Matt MacKay to put the puck in an open net and knot the score at one. Then after a big fight from Josh Caron
energized the bench, the Wild took a 2-1 the lead when Cody Almond
deflected a Tyler Cuma
shot past the Columbus net minder.
Now playing with the lead in the second period the Wild took control of the game and never relinquished it as the middle frame saw a couple of Wild defenseman join the scoring. Jared Spurgeon
unleashed a hard slapper from the point off assists from Casey Wellman and Chad Rau
, giving the wild a two-goal lead. The second Wild goal of the period came with some controversy when Nate Prosser
slid down the blue line and fired a blast through the net. After some confusion on the ice as to what actually happened the net was repaired and the Wild were rightfully given a 4-1 lead.
With time winding down in the third period, Wellman finished out the scoring on a breakaway after a nice feed from Kris Foucault sprung the forward free, making Minnesota 5-1 winners.
Not to be lost in the offensive barrage, Wild goalie Darcy Kuemper
played very solid in net, turning away 24 shots and keeping the Blue Jackets scoreless over eight power play attempts.
The Wild hit the ice for practice tomorrow morning with their next game coming at 2:30 p.m. (CDT) on Tuesday against the New York Rangers. FLAHR'S STARS:1. Casey Wellman –
With a goal and an assist he was simply the best player on the ice today. He was flying all over, using his speed to put tons of pressure on the Columbus defenseman and generate a lot of scoring chances.2. Darcy Kuemper
– The goalie turned aside 24 shots and made big saves when he had to, coming up especially big on several penalty kills.3. Nate Prosser
– Not only did he rip a hole in the net with his slapper from the point in the second period, but he played a lot of minutes and was working very hard defensively.Try-Out Player of the Game:Jared Spurgeon –
He played with a lot of poise on the power play, moving the puck very well and scoring a goal. In the defensive end, he knows how to play his position and played strong for his size.Flahr's Top Play:
Casey Wellman’s breakaway goal was a really impressive play and prettiest tally of the day. The forward’s highlight reel goal came when he used a toe drag to get the goaltender down and then fired the puck into an open net. Flahr's Key Takeaway:
It was really a team effort. Guys stood up for each other, especially when the play was getting physical. It’s impressive to see the team really coming together.