By Brad Vandenberk
The Chicago Junior Blackhawks played their final game in the annual rookie tournament in London, Ontario on Sunday afternoon, this time facing off with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Mac Carruth got the start in goal for the Hawks, while the Pens went with Tristan Jarry.
Forward Chris Desousa worked his way back in the lineup edging out Johnny McGuire. Bobby Shea was back in on the defense pairings with Adam Henry scratched.
Less than a minute into the opening period, Pat Mullane throws an elbow trying to separate a Pens d-man from the puck. Mullane heads to the box giving the Pens their first power play. 30 seconds into the power play, Viktor Svedberg gets called for a high-stick, handing the Penguins prospects a 2-man advantage for 90 seconds. Carruth made some key saves to kill the 2-man advantage.
Chris Desousa then finds his way to the penalty box when he is called for a charge.
During another Pens power play, Mark McNeill picks up a Derrick Pouliot giveaway and scores a shorthanded goal, giving the Hawks their first lead of the game 1-0. Garret Ross gets an assist with some great fore checking pressure during the PK.
At the 9:32 mark, Joe Gleason gets a pass from Alex Broadhurst and beats Tristan Jarry through a screen with a point shot, giving the Hawks a 2-0 lead. Svedberg and Broadhurst got the assists.
The first fight of the game had Bobby Shea come to the aid of one of his teammates after being hit from behind by Bobby Farnham. Shea gets the best of the contest taking a helmetless Farnham to the ice. The period ends with the Hawks leading 2-0, but the Pens leading in shots 20-11.
Desousa opens the second period running around hitting everything in sight. There is a good pace to the period with goal scoring chances on both sides of the ice.
The Pens finally solve Carruth when Jean-Sebastian Dea was left alone in front of the net with all the time on the planet.
At the half way mark of the period both team changed goalies. Brandon Whitney came in for Carruth and Matt Murray replaced Jarry.
The Hawks add to their lead once again when David Gilbert comes off the boards and spots Byron Froese in the slot. Froese rips a shot past Murray giving the Hawks a 3-1 cushion. The Pens still own the shot advantage after two periods 28-16.
Just 52 seconds into the final frame, the Pens strike again. Tom Kuhnhackl finds himself alone in front of the net and roofs it over Whitney. Then the Hawks get a string of power plays but fail to increase their lead. Although there is some fancy passing, not a lot of shots were taken.
The rough stuff continued after most of the whistles. Joakim Nordstrom and Dominik Uher mixed it up after a save by Murray. Shea was looking to drop with any of the Pens observing the tussle. He was quickly confronted when Philip Samuelsson walked over and gloves were thrown. Shea wins this one with a quick take down.
With time winding down, the Pens pull their goalie and Whitney makes some key saves to give the Hawks their first win of the tourney 3-2. Pens outshot the Hawks 44-26.
The Blackhawks prospects conclude the round-robin, four team tournament with a record of 1-0-2.
–Lines and pairings on Sunday
J. Nordstrom P. Danault G. Ross
P. Mullane D. Leblanc M. Shalunov
M. McNeill T. Broadhurst A. Broadhurst
C. Desousa D. Gilbert B. Froese
D. Olsen D. Fournier
V. Svedberg B. Shea
T. Brown J. Gleason
–Mac Carruth was very poised in net. He is very calm, cool and collected in net. He has real good speed going from post to post.
–The Broadhurst brothers played together the whole tourney and they were flying all over the ice.
–Philip Danault is going to be a very good NHLer in the future. Very good on face offs and also along the wall and can create plays when there may not be any play.
–Mark McNeill is very noticeable, especially scoring shorthanded this afternoon. Even though he is just over 6 foot, he plays a lot bigger and has great vision on the ice.
–Joakim Nordstrom has a soft pair of hands around the net, scoring in tight places.
–Viktor Svedberg is definitely a big body, but needs to utilize his size for the NHL level.
–Dillion Fournier will be something. He’s only 19 years old and already has a ton of upside.