En­twistle helps Team Cherry to vic­tory

Hamilton Bull­dog scores a goal in Cana­dian Top Prospects game

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - BILL BEACON

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.”

JOHN RENNISON, THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR

Hamilton’s MacKen­zie En­twistle scored one of seven goals for Team Cherry on Mon­day night in Que­bec City.

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