Guelph, ON – For the second straight year, Team Cherry’s offensive instincts rose to the surface as gorgeous goals and a few additions to the event record book paved the way to a 7-4 win at the Sleeman Centre in Guelph.
Team Cherry’s Jim Gregory Player of the Game Award recipient Evan Bouchard (London Knights) tied a pair of event records with four assists and four points from the back end while forward Ty Dellandrea made a record-breaking contribution of his own with two goals just 20 seconds apart.
“They came at us hard to start the game but we bounced back and once we scored a goal or two we gained momentum and that really carried us,” said Bouchard, who tied Daniel Briere’s event record of four assists set back in 1996. “It’s easy to generate chemistry when you have the chance to play with great players like this.”
Dellandrea’s pair of bang-bang goals late in the first period surpassed a long-standing record set by JP Dumont back in 1996.
“The guys all played great and I was just fortunate to be able to finish on those great plays by my teammates,” said Dellandrea who is just the second Flint Firebirds player to ever suit up at the event.
“Our team grew close over these past three days and we all had a lot of fun out there tonight.”
Six different Team Cherry players had multi-point outputs as second-ranked North American skater Filip Zadina (Halifax Mooseheads), late addition Aidan Dudas (Owen Sound Attack) and Dellandrea each finished the night with a pair of markers.
After a back-and-forth opening half of the first period, Don Cherry’s squad took over with four goals in a span of 2:32.
Russian winger Egor Sokolov (Cape Breton Screaming Eagles) got things started, finishing off a broken play in the slot with a quick release through the legs of Team Orr netminder Alexis Gravel (Halifax Mooseheads) at 14:10.
Dudas snuck in behind the Team Orr defence just over a minute later, taking a Bouchard up-ice feed to go in alone and beat Gravel through the legs.
Dellandrea would proceed to set a pair of new Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game records, making the score 4-0 when he tallied 20 seconds apart to smash JP Dumont’s 1996 mark of two goals in 3:22.
Dellandrea’s second marker came on a deflection off a Nico Gross (Oshawa Generals) point release, giving Team Cherry three goals in a span of 1:07 to set another new event mark.
Team Cherry picked up where it left off 4:12 into the second frame as Barrett Hayton (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds) found NHL Central Scouting’s second-ranked North American skater Filip Zadina (Halifax Mooseheads) waiting in the slot for a one-time finish past his Halifax teammate Gravel.
After a number of quality power play scoring chances, Team Orr broke its offensive silence just shy of the midway mark of the second as big blueliner Kevin Bahl (Ottawa 67’s) sent a shot toward the goal that was deflected enroute by Serron Noel (Oshawa Generals).
Both clubs changed goaltenders at the midway point with Team Cherry in the lead 5-1, outshooting Team Orr 21-14 as Jacob Ingham (Mississauga Steelheads) and Kevin Mandolese (Cape Breton Screaming Eagles) took over in the crease.
Though the 6-foot-6 defenceman has just one goal in Ottawa this season, Bahl jumped into the rush to cut Team Orr’s deficit to three with 6:12 left in the second frame, coming in late as the trailer to rip a quick wrister past Ingham.
Dudas would put away his second of the night 1:12 later, putting Team Cherry up 6-2 with a beautiful toe-drag through the slot before depositing a shot over the shoulder of Kevin Mandolese (Cape Breton Screaming Eagles) at the 15-minute mark.
Zadina would bury his second of the night on a rebound with 1:52 left in the third, grabbing the second effort off a Bouchard perimeter shot to send Team Cherry into the intermission leading 7-2.
Team Orr made things interesting in the third, getting goals from Cole Fonstad (Prince Albert Raiders) and Dmitry Zavgorodniy (Rimouski Océanic) to cut the deficit to three before the sound of the final buzzer.
Bouchard (4A) and Team Orr’s Kevin Bahl (1G, 1A) claimed Jim Gregory Player of the Game recognition as Team Cherry improved to 7-13 at the Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game.
Team Cherry outshot Team Orr 41-26 on the night, going 1-for-3 on the power play.