10 takeaways from the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game

Antoine Morand, Owen Tippett and MacKenzie Entwistle each had a goal and an assist to help lead Team Cherry to a 7-5 win over Team Orr. Team Cherry had lost the previous six times.

At this year’s CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, Team Cherry came out on top with a 7-5 win over Team Orr in front of 9,707 fans at Quebec City’s Centre Videotron.

The game, which features players eligible for the upcoming NHL draft, had strong performances from headliners such as Nico Hischier and Gabriel Vilardi, but Sportsnet’s Sam Cosentino shares 10 other takeaways from the big game.

10. The Strome Jinx lives
After going pointless and losing by a combined 13-1 score, Strome brothers Ryan and Dylan were relying on their youngest sibling, Matthew, to come through in this game. Unfortunately, Matthew failed to record a point and also found himself on the losing end of a 7-5 Team Orr loss. Ironically, the Team Cherry win ended a six-year losing skid.

9. Stuart Skinner was the top netminder
The 6-foot-4, 200-pound native of Edmonton was brilliant in stopping 17 of the 18 shots he faced relieving Ian Scott for Team Cherry. Skinner of the Lethbridge Hurricanes is the youngest of nine siblings.

8. Surprise, surprise
Everyone outside of the London Knights coaching staff would’ve been surprised to learn that Alex Formenton, the 24th-ranked player by NHL Central Scouting, finished first in the overall on-ice testing. Kingston’s Jacob Paquette topped all players in the off-ice testing, while Formenton finished fourth.

7. Ivan and Sasha
There are few, if any, borders in the game of hockey these days. Erie’s Ivan Lodnia and Ottawa’s Sasha Chmelevski grew up together in California. Lodnia’s father Konstantin was their hockey instructor. They are both of Ukrainian descent. Years later both claim Michigan their home.

6. Mac Attack
I don’t know if he gets into the first round, but the 35th-ranked MacKenzie Entwistle is going to make some team really happy. Entwistle is a low-maintenance, high-performance player. He’s a prince of a young man and has sneaky skills. The Hamilton Bulldogs budding star has steal-of-the-draft potential.

5. Glass House
The story of Cody Glass is simply amazing. Having battled through his parents’ divorce, financial concerns to continue playing and the loss of his grandmother, Glass has persevered to become one of the fastest risers on just about everyone’s draft list. Glass had one assist in the game, but had several good looks, especially early on.

4. Hip Jerseys
During the warm-up Kingston Frontenacs Jacob Paquette and Eemeli Rasanen were wearing specially designed Tragically Hip jerseys. The Frontenacs wore a different version of the special jersey during their January 28 game versus Mississauga. In support of Gord Downie and his battle with brain cancer, the jerseys are currently up for auction and would make for an awesome centrepiece in any rec room.

3. Oh Henri
Portland Winterhawks Finnish defenceman Henri Jokiharju, ranked 22nd in the NHL’s Central Scouting rankings, chipped in with three assists for Team Cherry to establish a new Prospects Game record for a defenceman.

2. Who’s No. 1?
One of the top stories going into this game was the showdown between top-ranked Nolan Patrick of the Brandon Wheat Kings and the No. 2-ranked player Nico Hischier of the Halifax Mooseheads. The Mooseheads star won the battle with a goal and two assists, while Patrick had two helpers and went 12-for-16 in the faceoff circle.

1. Escapism through Sport
After hours of consternation and discussion, CHL President David Branch, QMJHL Commissioner Gilles Courteau and WHL boss Ron Robison decided to move forward with the game just over 24 hours after the horrific loss of life at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City. A stirring moment of silence was followed by 40 young men entertaining the masses to the tone of 12 goals, the most scored in a Sherwin Williams Top Prospects game since 2008.

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