Entwistle helps Team Cherry to victory
Hamilton Bulldog scores a goal in Canadian Top Prospects game
QUEBEC — There weren’t a lot of smiles seen in Quebec City a day after a horrific shooting at a local mosque, but players in the Canadian Top Prospects game were able to put it aside for a couple of hours and play some fire-wagon hockey on Monday night.
Gabe Vilardi scored on his Windsor Spitfires teammate Michael DiPietro to break a tie and help Team Cherry to a 7-5 victory over Team Orr before 9,707 fans at the Centre Videotron in the annual game featuring the best prospects for the NHL draft in June.
“It was pretty cool, I’ve got bragging rights for this year,” said Vilardi, who is projected to go high in the draft. “I was just battling to get in front of the net.
“I know Mikey’s a great desperation goalie so I knew he’d slide really far, so I tried to go five-hole and it worked.”
Team Cherry captain Nolan Patrick of the Brandon Wheat Kings, ranked first for the NHL draft by NHL Central Scouting, had two assists while his Team Orr and Halifax Mooseheads counterpart Nico Hischier, ranked second, was dazzling while amassing a goal and two helpers.
A minute of silence was observed before the opening faceoff and the message “Our thoughts are with the victims and their families” was displayed on the scoreboard, lending a sombre note to the game between 17- and 18-year-olds after the shooting on Sunday night that left six dead and several injured.
“It was pretty scary for the team because it was two blocks away from our hotel, so we were just getting back from dinner when it happened,” said Patrick. “We were put in lockdown in our rooms.
“That’s something you never want to see happen, but I thought the (Canadian Hockey League) did a great job of protecting the players. We didn’t have anything to worry about.
“It was a shock for everybody,” said Hischier. “The thoughts were with the victims. It was tough.”
But they were able to set it all aside once the puck was dropped.
Isaac Ratchiffe of the Guelph Storm, Antoine Morand of the Acadie-Bathurst Titan, MacKenzie Entwistle of the Hamilton Bulldogs, Maxime Comtois of the Victoriaville Tigres and Owen Tippett of the Mississauga Steelheads also scored for Team Cherry. Jake Leschyshyn of the Regina Pats added an emptynet goal. Henri Jokiharju of the Portland Winterhawks had three assists and was named Team Cherry’s player of the game.
Sasha Chmelevski of the Ottawa 67’s, Michael Rasmussen of the TriCity Americans, Kailer Yamamoto of the Spokane Chiefs and Stelio Mattheos had the other goals for Team Orr.
Hischier’s line with Yamamoto and big Nikita Popugaev of the Prince George Cougars was eyecatching all game for the Orrs.
“They were good players and it was fun to play with them,” said Hischier. “We had good chemistry. It was cool.”
Hamilton’s MacKenzie Entwistle scored one of seven goals for Team Cherry on Monday night in Quebec City.