HAMILTON — Tyson Foerster and his linemates laughed amongst themselves on the Team White bench shortly after he scored his second goal of the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game.
The impressive passing display started off with Ryan O’Rourke, who dropped it back to Ridly Greig and then to Connor Zary on the left side before the latter swung it across to Foerster, who finished it off.
“I haven’t seen the replay yet, but I want to watch it because we were talking about it on the bench seeing who touched it,” said Foerster, who also added an assist Thursday to help his team pick up a 5-3 victory over Team Red.
“I think this is a really good game to come out and play the way I did.”
Foerster, in his second OHL season with the Barrie Colts, was one player who was able to raise his draft stock in front of NHL executives and scouts at FirstOntario Centre. The Top Prospects Game featured the top 40 players from across the CHL’s three leagues who are all trying to impress scouts ahead of June’s NHL Draft in Montreal.
Foerster has already doubled his goal total during the regular season with Barrie after scoring 10 times last year. In 2019-20, he has 21 goals and 27 assists with the Colts to lead the team.
He entered the game ranked No. 41 among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting after its mid-term rankings were released earlier this week. Foerster said he feels as though his shot is his strength and that was evident with his first goal — a strong wrist shot that went under the blocker of Team Red’s Brock Gould.
Zary, ranked No. 12, is normally a sniper with the Western Hockey League’s Kamloops Blazers, but finished with three assists.
“I had a couple chances in the first where I didn’t bury and it kind of ticked me off,” Zary said. “But just being able to feed other guys and seeing them put the puck in the net makes me just as happy as me getting a goal myself.”
Defencemen Kaiden Guhle and Braden Schneider also scored for Team White while Cole Perfetti added an empty netter on his second attempt after his first went off the post.
Jeremie Poirier, Jack Quinn and Dawson Mercer found the back of the net for Team Red.
Here are some more highlights from the game:
LAFRENIERE & BYFIELD
Alexis Lafreniere, the projected first overall pick in this year’s NHL Draft, and Quinton Byfield — the probable No. 2 selection — had decent games as they captained Team White and Red, respectively.
Lafreniere had a goal called back almost eight minutes into the first on a nice play which featured a bullet of a shot. A review determined it was offside.
Both players were coming off gold medal performances for Canada at the world junior championship — Lafreniere was the tournament MVP — and featured a physical style of game with some punishing hits.
Lafreniere said throwing a big hit can sometimes help get him going early.
“If I can get involved physically it can help me get into a game and that’s something I try to do,” he said.
Both players failed to record a point.
Team Red centre Quinton Byfield (55) and Team White left winger Alexis Lafreniere (11) pose for a photo following the CHL Top Prospects Game. (Peter Power/CP)
Brock Gould of the Moose Jaw Warriors was able to play the whole game after Team Red’s other goalie, Nico Daws, was a late scratch due to an upper-body injury.
Daws was passed over by every team during last year’s NHL Draft in Vancouver and started two games for Canada at the world junior championship.
The Guelph Storm goalie is having a good season for his club team and took warm-ups Thursday.
Gould stepped up in Daws’s absence and stopped 27-of-31 shots in 57:29 with many of those saves being tough stops after defensive breakdowns.
Jeremie Poirier, ranked No. 16, was paired with gold medal WJC defenceman Jamie Drysdale, ranked No. 3, and the duo shined on Team Red’s back end.
They moved the puck with ease and weren’t afraid to step up into the play without hesitation. They’re also both very good skaters.
It led to the first goal from Poirier in the first period, a shot from the point at 3:58 that went through traffic after he stepped in from the right point.
“He’s one of the best, if not the best defenceman in our age group,” Poirier said of Drysdale. “I think playing with him was a good chance for me.”