All American Prospects Game

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All American Prospects Game October 1, 2012 8:10 AM

Saturday night I was visiting friends and family in Western New York and happened to receive passes to the All American Prospects Game. With some of the top 2013 draft eligible players on the ice, the Buffalo Sabres organization did not disappoint in their presentation.

A pair of U-18 games preceded the main event during the afternoon, and both ended in shutouts. The Buffalo Saints 18U opened the day with a 6-0 win over the Amherst Knights 18U. In the second game, Nathan Susese scored the only goal as the Buffalo Jr. Sabres 18U blanked the Boston Jr. Bruins 1-0. I am not ashamed to say that the Sabres U-18 team is loaded, and every junior scout needs to keep an eye on these players.

At the main event, two teams, coached by Buffalo Sabres’ legends Phil Housley and 1980′s Olympic Gold Medal Winner Rob McClanahan, battled to showcase their skills in front of a crowd of 5,591 hockey fans and NHL scouts.

Ryan Fitzgerald had three assists to help Team McClanahan beat Team Housley 5-2. Evan Allen scored both goals for Team Housley.

Following the game, Fitzgerald, the games MVP, responded to those who criticized about his decision to play for a junior team in Massachusetts instead of going to the National Team Development Program.

"There were questions if I can play with the big boys out here," said Fitzgerald, whose father Tom played in the NHL. "This is a pretty big stepping stone and I think I did a good job."

In my opinion Fitzgerald was head and shoulders about all the other players on the ice. The only other player close to him was Defenseman Seth Jones. Seth is the son of Popeye Jones, former NBA star and current Dallas Mavericks Assistant Coach. Seth Jones also scored for for Team McClanahan while playing with Fitzgerald.

The only disappointment for me was not being able to see Fitzgerald go against Jones. That alone would have been worth making the trip for. Looks like I will just have to wait another year or two, as both of these young men are fairly close to "cant miss" NHL prospects.

Written By: Kevin Kelly

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