Despite dressing an arguably weaker squad than in game 1 on Monday night, the Avs prospects were resilient and forced an overtime against the young Coyotes. Focusing on the process rather than the scoreboard it was another strong showing. I’ll take the improvement we saw over worrying about the result anytime.
Lewis – Kerfoot – Compher
Greer – Jost – St-Amant
Storm – Toninato – Shaw
Barron – Roy – Olhaver
The Kerfoot line was solid offensively if not productive. As the game wore on it became apparent that Coach Veilleux matched them up against Clayton Keller often and JT Compher was his shadow. It was effective and I expect to see Comphs in this role a lot this season. The Jost line got the easier offensive matchups and didn’t disappoint. They generated a good chunk of the Avs SOG and Greer broke through with a tip-in goal. The bottom 6 didn’t stand out much beyond Dominic Toninato, who was a lot more noticeable than he was on Friday. Storm & Olhaver filled the role of gigantic pests well if nothing else.
Bigras – Gregoire
Mironov – Boikov
De Jong – Ausmus
Bigras and Gregoire were solid in general all night. Bigras had an even better showing than in game 1 and cut down on some of the d-zone mistakes. Gregoire seemed a much better match for him than Mironov, having puck skills and skating ability in similar styles worked very well. Hope the staff upstairs noticed this. Miro and Boikov were also pretty effective, Miro looking more confident and assertive than on Friday and played primarily on the left side this time. Boikov had a pretty typical game, physical and flashes of skill (like his wonderful pinch for a goal) interspersed with a couple of the usual baffling decisions. De Jong and Ausmus struggled, the former especially so. De Jong had a nice shot from the point for a goal (although I’m pretty sure St-Amant tipped it) but it didn’t make up for some brutal mistakes early in the game that the Coyotes capitalized on.
Instead of the platoon we saw in the first game, Eric Veilleux went with Kvaca through the whole contest and it paid off. After struggling through his first North American game action in the first period, Kvaca settled in and showed promising form from the 2nd period on. I’m going to put the “intriguing” label on him as a prospect now. I hope he gets to stick around camp for a while to work with Jussi Parkkila and get comfortable with NHL style play.
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Overall it was the 2nd strong game in a row for the Avs youngsters. They outshot the opponent noticeably and now have a 72-53 advantage (57.6% FWIW) there for the two games. The Kerfoot-Compher line has proved they can be tough at both ends of the ice so that the Jost line can take the easier matchups. I don’t think there’s much to be fixed here, most of the issues so far stem from inexperience more than anything else. The players you would expect to play well have played well, which sets up some exciting battles for main training camp.
The 3rd and final game of the Showcase happens this afternoon at 3pm ET/1pm MT versus Anaheim. According to the Avs there will be a stream, stay tuned.