Lesser lights shine at USHL Top Prospects Game


Kyle Connor (Youngstown Phantoms)

Kevin Conley scored two goals and added an assist to lead Team East to a 7-4 win over Team West at the USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game Tuesday night. Conley, a C-rated skater on NHL Central Scouting’s latest players to watch list for the 2015 NHL Draft, took home MVP honours after being added to the roster as an injury replacement.

In Central Scouting’s grading system, a C-rated skater is a projected fourth-to-sixth round pick. A B-rated prospect is a second- or third-rounder candidate and an A-rating means potential first-round pick.

B-rated prospect Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, a Swedish centre for Omaha, was named MVP for Team West after getting a goal and an assist.

Forsbacka-Karlsson, left, and Conley were named game MVPs.
Forsbacka-Karlsson, left, and Conley were named game MVPs.

Kyle Connor, the most highly touted NHL prospect at the game, failed to register a point in front of the 100-plus NHL scouts in attendance. Brock Boeser, another A-rated prospect, was also held pointless. The only A-rated player to score was Waterloo centre Tom Novak, who had an assist.

Nikita Pavlychev (C-rated), a 6-foot-6 centre, chipped in two assists for Team West, while Jake Henderson (C-rated) had a goal and an assist. Defeceman Joe Masonius and Chris Wilkie also scored for Team West.

Chase Pearson and Cal Burke, both C-rated prospects, each had a goal and assist for Team East. Sam Miletic (C-rated), Jiri Fronk and Christian Wolanin were the other goal-scorers for the East.

Chris Birdsall, a B-rated prospect, was perfect in making nine saves for Team West. Unrated Cedar Rapids netminder Ben Blacker allowed six goals on 19 shots.

A pair of C prospects shared the net for Team East. Eric Schierhorn allowed four goals on 22 shots while Ryan Larkin turned aside all 18 shots he faced.

The CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game happens Jan. 22 live on Sportsnet with bonus coverage prior to and during the game here at Sportsnet.ca.

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