Top Prospects Game
McCann's late goal leads Team Orr to victory over Team Cherry in CHL Top Prospects Game
Scouts insist one game won’t make or break any single player.
But Jared McCann certainly didn’t drop down anyone’s list Wednesday night.
The Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds star unleashed a laser late in regulation time to give Team Orr a 4-3 win over Team Cherry at the CHL Top Prospects Game at the Saddledome in Calgary.
McCann, who was ranked 11th in NHL Central Scouting’s midterm rankings when they were released Monday, took a pass from Josh Ho-Sang and picked the top corner for the game-winner.
He didn’t necessarily rocket to the top of any pre-draft lists, but sniping the game-winner in a nationally televised event sure doesn’t hurt.
“No, it doesn’t hurt at all,” McCann said. “Josh made a great pass to me and luckily it went in.
“It was kind of a storybook ending.”
McCann was selected as Team Orr’s player of the game, while Sarnia Sting import Nikolay Goldobin was Team Cherry’s top performer.
Team Cherry outshot Team Orr 35-33.
With all that firepower on the ice, no one could find the back of the net in the opening period.
Charlottetown Islanders goaltender Mason McDonald stole the show, stopping all 14 shots he faced in the frame, which was highlighted by a scrap between OHL Eastern Conference foes Aaron Haydon (Niagara IceDogs) and Jacob Middleton (Ottawa 67s). Both players were tossed for discarding their helmets prior to the spirited tilt but were later reinstated between periods.
There were no more fireworks but plenty of jostling for space as the CHL’s top draft-eligible players strutted their stuff in front of hundreds of scouts and GMs from across the NHL.
Things opened up in a hurry midway through when Team Orr hit back-to-back posts seconds before Julius Honka’s shot went in off Brendan Lemieux, who was, not surprisingly, stationed at the top of the blue paint.
Michael Dal Colle tied it up just eight ticks later. NHL Central Scouting’s fifth-ranked prospect roofed a shot over McDonald’s blocker, and both squads immediately changed their ’tenders.
Dal Colle, one of the top power forwards in this summer’s draft, showed a quick release on a number of attempts early in the contest.
Team Orr struck again on the powerplay as Saginaw Spirit winger Blake Clarke came off the half-boards and picked the top corner.
There were plenty of NHL scouts in attendance. Maybe Major League Baseball should have sent a couple, too as Ho-Sang batted a chest-high rebound past Alex Nedeljkovic in the Cherry net.
“The puck just came in my wheelhouse,” Ho-Sang said of the solid line drive.
The Windsor Spitfires sparkplug said he was comfortable re-uniting with McCann. The pair played together with Canada’s U-17 team.
“I’ve seen Jared play,” Ho-Sang said. “I play against him a lot, so I know what kind of player he is.
“He’s a great talent, so I just tried to get him the puck when I could.”
Team Grapes battled back in the third period with Goldobin, on a wraparound, and captain Sam Reinhart, on a powerplay, knotting the game at three.
But McCann won it with 3:29 to play as Team Orr held off a final rally.