Although the Hurricanes held the Minnesota Wild prospects scoreless in the second and third periods of yesterday's opening game of the 2010 Traverse City NHL Prospects tournament, it wasn't good enough, as they only managed one goal, late in the third after yielding two in the first period. RW Mike McKenzie (who recently signed a two-way AHL/ECHL contract with the Charlotte Checkers), was the lone scorer, with an assist from Defenseman Austin Levi, a mid-round pick by the Canes at the 2010 Draft. By all accounts, the difference maker was the Minnesota goalie, Matt Hackett, who is the netminder for the OHL's Plymouth Whalers (and teammates with Levi, and formerly with Michal Jordan as well, both on the Canes team this week).
Winger Matt Kennedy was named team captain for the tournament, and Kyle Hanlin explained that there are no alternate captains beyond that.
Jeff Skinner led all Hurricanes with 7 shots on goal. Mike McKenzie was next with 5. Several players chipped in two, but Hackett was a wall, and leads the tournament with a save percentage of 96.7% after saving all but one of the 30 shots faced. Kyle Hanlin was tweeting live from the game and you can read his feed here. (newest on top) The Minnesota site had a recap also focusing on Hackett as the difference maker.
Chip Alexander just posted this over at Canes Now - Rutherford sees positives in loss, quoting Jim Rutherford:
"A lot of good things happened for us in the second and third periods. I liked the play of (Jeff) Skinner, (Zac) Dalpe and (Riley) Nash. Another who played well was Jared Staal. He used that big body well and was working hard along the boards, in the corners, in front of the net. He played well."
Reading the Rangers stories, it seems they have high hopes of winning it all this year. They've noted that the only loss the Rangers squad had last year was to the Hurricanes in the first game of 2009. With many on their roster returning for their second appearance on Traverse City, they may well be a little extra motivated today. Take a look at the Traverse City page, loaded (!) with links and video at the Official NY Rangers site, including this game preview of today's game versus the Canes, with a lot of attention on Jeff Skinner.
One incident to note coming out of the Rangers win yesterday over Columbus was that a fight in the third period between the Ranger's Randy McNaught. and the Jackets' Steven Delisle led to a shoulder injury for Delisle, who will not play the remainder of the tournament. The Baby Blushirts' also bring Dylan McIlrath to the game, who as the 11th pick in this year's draft, carries a reputation as one tough character.
How to keep track of the game:
Pointstreak.com is still the place to go for the most stats on the entire tournament, including these pre-game notes for today's game. Yesterday, internet issues as the hosting arena may have been the only reason we didn't have live gamesheets there. By the second set of games, they were live and auto-updating. Let's hope that carries through for the games today.
Several other sources covering the tournament are listed toward the end of the Traverse City post we put up Friday afternoon. I'll be here for most of the game and will add comments and tweet updates as well from @HMof2.
All teams will get the day off Monday, and then the Hurricanes will play their third game of the round-robin portion Tuesday evening at 6:30, taking on the Blue Jackets. Final games to determine tournament standings are Wednesday.