Its time to pack the bags and head back home. For some it can be a longer trip than others. For Robert Rooba it is a trip back home to Talinn, Estonia, for others its just a trip back to mom & dad’s in the Twin Cities metro area. They will be taking back their experience, their new found knowledge of fitness and nutrition and the memories that come with it. One last event is ahead of them, the last prospect scrimmage in front of another 3,000 fans at Xcel Energy Center. Some of these players will be back in a little over a month for the Traverse City Prospect Tournament, for others we may never see them again.
Team Green got the scoring going in the 1st period as Robin Hoglund sniped a shot over the shoulder of Kaapo Kahkonen. With Team Green holding a 1-0 lead going into the 2nd half, Team White took over the game. Grayson Downing got things started with a pretty backhand finish off the rush. After that it became the Reid Duke show who used his speed, some great 1-on-1 moves to breakdown Team Green defensively. Duke would score twice and Brad McClure once more to give Team White a 4-1 regulation victory. No one would score in the 5-minute overtime. In the shootout Team White added 8 more goals to roll to a 12-4 victory.
Scrimmage #2 Player Thoughts:
#75 Reid Duke (Team White) ~ The speedy winger switched teams and he had a big impact for Team White as he again demonstrated his terrific hands and ability to create space for himself. Duke scored twice; the first on a breakaway where he just turned on the jets to fly by the Team Green defense and the 2nd one off his own rebound. Duke seemed to make things happen offensively on most of his shifts and he has turned the last 2 years of prospect scrimmages into his own showcase. 4 goals in this year’s scrimmages alone to go with at least 4 from last year has to be among the best performances at Wild Prospect Camp in its history. At the very least this youngster has shown a lot of initiative and it is exciting to see if he can continue to build upon this positive momentum with a strong performance at Traverse City later this summer. Reid Duke was all smiles in front of the camera’s after the scrimmage, can you blame him?
#52 Alex Tuch (Team White) ~ I was again impressed at his overall hustle and how he used his big body to be a physical force on the ice. Tuch seemed to relish going against Gustav Olofsson, a player he consistently physically overpowered. I think he has grown a lot defensively, and his game was far more well-rounded compared to a year ago. His shootout goal was terrific how he outwaited Charlie Lindgren and then had a little fun with the celly as he marched past the opposing bench showing the kind of swagger we don’t often see in Wild players.
#45 Gustav Bouramman (Team Green) ~ The young Swedish defenseman impressed me with his poise and decision-making with the puck. I like how he at times followed the puck into the corners in the offensive zone from time to time to give his side an extra man on the forecheck. He was a late-round selection and if he can follow up from his good showing with a great season in the OHL he might be considered another late-round steal for this organization. His strong play earned rave reviews from Iowa Wild bench boss John Torchetti, who told wild.com he wished he was going to be in Iowa with how cool and collected his play was in the scrimmages which is a pretty nice feather in your cap.
#80 Louie Belpedio (Team White) ~ The Miami Redhawks defenseman was a source of stability for Team White, moving the puck effectively up the ice and distributing the puck well in the offensive zone. Belpedio was a big reason Team White was able to stymie the Team Green offense this evening.
#58 Grayson Downing (Team White) ~ The center did a fantastic job of being physical at the right times while also leading the way on Team White’s top line all night long. Downing may not be overpowering, but he uses his body well to win draws. His backhand goal off the rush was a thing of beauty. Downing could very well find himself as the top center in Iowa so its good to see him play so assertively.
#77 Sam Warning (Team White) ~ The former Golden Gophers’ star was very noticeable using his speed to push the pace of play and back off Team Green defenders. Warning is playing for a professional contract and I think the Iowa Wild could certainly use that dose of speed. I am not sure he’s going to score a lot of points but he’s a versatile player that would be nice to have in the organization.
#24 Joel Eriksson Ek (Team Green) ~ I didn’t think the young center was as noticeable tonight as he was on Saturday but he still gave you glimpses of what makes him special. The willingness to shoot the puck from anywhere and his ability to beat defenders 1-on-1 was evident again, but he must add more strength as he was again pushed around far too often. Still there is far more to his game to like than dislike. I think it was clear he missed having Zack Mitchell on his line as much as he did on Saturday.
#27 Jordan Greenway (Team Green) ~ Greenway again used his body well in the corners and was taking opportunities to deliver hits. He seemed to have a bit of competition going between himself and Tuch as to who could be the most physically imposing player this evening. Greenway tried driving to the net, but he had a little trouble controlling the puck well enough to get off a quality shot. He will have to work on his puckhandling, especially as he tries to carry it under pressure into the scoring areas. The athletic gifts are there, he just needs to hone the skill to go with it.
#63 Kurtis Gabriel (Team White) ~ I thought he was more noticeable in this scrimmage than he was on Saturday. I still wouldn’t say he was as physical as I hoped he’d be, but his skating and initial burst has improved significantly from a season ago. Gabriel was using his speed well on the forecheck. He certainly was getting a ton of props from Iowa Wild’s play-by-play man Joe O’Donnell during the wild.com broadcast for his level of improvement over the course of the season and his tremendous character.
#61 Robin Hoglund (Team Green) ~ The seldom-used Gophers winger certainly had an impact in both Wild scrimmages. On Saturday he was a wrecking ball, using his big body to bulldoze players all over the ice. In tonight’s game he was not throwing his weight around as much but instead showed off some skill as he got Team Green’s only goal in regulation play when he rifled a snap shot top shelf by Kaapo Kahkonen. With players like Seth Ambroz, Sam Warning and Travis Boyd moving on the Gophers could use Hoglund to be a force this upcoming season.
#30 Mike Reilly (Team White) ~ The Gophers’ star was more muted in tonight’s scrimmage than he was on Saturday. Still, the skills and ability set him apart. Reilly likes to jump into the play and work the puck around the offensive zone like he’s another forward much the same way he did with the Gophers. He will need to pick his spots more carefully at the NHL level, because he was getting caught far too deep too often in the scrimmage. It will be interesting to see how well he performs in Traverse City.
#40 Kaapo Kahkonen (Team White) ~ While Kahkonen only gave up a goal in his time between the pipes I thought he was again guilty of guessing far too often out there. He got bailed out by a few posts and I thought his rebound control was just ok. Kahkonen was stopping pucks better at this year’s scrimmage but I’m not sure I’m sold on the technical aspects of playing his angles properly.
#70 Brad McClure (Team White) ~ The Minnesota State winger had a good night along side Reid Duke and used his speed well to open up opportunities for his linemates. His rebound goal late in regulation was a nice reward for setting up Duke two times previously in the scrimmage. McClure got some good props from the Wild brass who felt there was a lot of Johan Larsson to his game, and that was a player they liked a lot. A good sign for a guy hoping to win a professional contract.
#71 Zach Palmquist (Team White) ~ I thought the South St. Paul-native had another great scrimmage after a solid performance on Saturday. He helped push the tempo for Team White which had Team Green on its heels for most of the night. Palmquist’s had at least two helpers tonight and there is a pretty good chance he ends up in Iowa’s top 4 this fall.
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