First USHL NHL Top Prospects Game

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First USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game

Editor Opinion – Joseph Kolodziej

The first-ever USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game was a hit with scouts and fans alike.

Forty of the top National Hockey League draft-eligible USHL players showcased their skills in front of nearly 150 NHL scouts and 1,334 spectators.

Team East capturing a 5-3 victory.

Ron Mason, who was the head coach of the East team along with Green Bay’s Derek LaLonde did a nice job of creating chemistry between players with limited time to interact with them. It was nice to see Mason back on the bench.

It was a showcase event with NHL scouts taking plenty of notes on the league’s top draft eligible players. And come draft time, expect a couple of those players to be high-round draft picks.

Early on, Team West took a 2-1 lead after one period and Team East tied it at 3-all after two periods. Muskegon’s Jordan Masters had an assist on the game-tying goal. Fellow Jacks Matt DeBlouw and Adam Chlapik also had solid showings for Team East.

In the final period, Kubiak scored the game-winner and Alex Kile added an insurance goal at 18:39 to provide the East with its final margin of victory.

Although I witnessed a high level of skill throughout the event, one player stood out for me. Jordan Masters of Muskegon clearly stood out. Vision, speed, and hockey sense were evident from the first minutes of the game. This player clearly has all the tools to become an NHL player, and not just a player who gets his cup of coffee.

Goaltender Jay Williams also made an impact with some incredible stops. Jon Gillies was solid as advertised, but for my money Williams stole the goaltender highlight show.

All in all it was a great event, USA Hockey’s new Vice President John Vanbiesbrouck was present, a large viewship was reported for the free Fast Hockey webcast, and fans seemed to enjoy themselves. All of these elements would make this a cant miss even for any hockey fan.

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