stopped 29 shots and Jarod Palmer
tallied a pair of assists to propel the Minnesota Wild to a 2-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes in the opening game of the Traverse City Prospects Tournament on Saturday.
The Wild came out hard to open the game, consistently putting pressure on the Hurricane defenders and the effort paid off when Tyler Johnson, a tryout player from Spokane, WA, lit the lamp with just over seven minutes remaining in the first period. While on the power play Palmer fired a hard shot from the outside off of the goaltender’s pads and into the slot where a crashing Johnson slid the puck into the net to give the Wild the lead.Joel Broda
put the Wild ahead 2-0 just five minutes later on a similar play to Johnson’s goal, going hard to the net and putting in a rebound off a Palmer shot. Casey Wellman also picked up an assist on the play.
The Wild maintained their two goal lead in the second period on the strength of Matt Hackett
’s stellar play in net. The goaltender turned away all 16 shots he faced in the second frame including a breakaway early on. In the third period the Hurricanes were finally able to solve Hackett on Mike McKenzie’s goal, but the defense tightened up and Hackett made eight stops over the final period to preserve the victory.
“We bent but we didn’t break,” said Assistant General Manager Brent Flahr, “We know it can be a lot better and we showed that we were a really good team in the first period. If we play like that we can have a lot of success here.”
The Wild’s next game in the tournament is Sunday at 1:00 p.m. (CDT) as they face off against the Columbus Blue Jackets. FLAHR'S STARS:1. Hackett
– Made 29 saves on 30 shots and set the tone for the game.2. Wellman
– Had an assist on the Wild’s second goal, created offensive chances and played a strong defensive game.3. Palmer
– Set up both Wild goals and was a force out on the ice.Try-Out Player of the Game:Tyler Johnson
– Got the Wild on the board in the first period with his PP goal, had great energy, and was a strong penalty killer throughout the game.Flahr's Top Play:
The Wild were playing sloppy and on their heels to open the second period when Hackett made a huge stop on a breakaway to keep the Wild up two and calm the team down. Letting a goal in could have drastically swung the momentum in favor of the Hurricanes. Flahr's Key Takeaway:
The Wild played well after only being on the ice together for one practice. With a game under their belt and another practice tomorrow morning the team should be more comfortable together when they take on Columbus in the afternoon.