Laurent Dauphin of the Chicoutimi Sagueneens was the last player picked on Team Orr, but he played like he should have been there from the start.
The Chicoutimi Sagueneens centre scored a goal and an assist as Team Orr beat Team Cherry 3-0 in the CHL Top Prospects Game on Wednesday at the Metro Centre.
“I wanted to prove that I had my place here and that I am as good as everybody else,” said Dauphin, who was a late injury replacement on Monday.
Players are named to the team by a poll of NHL scouting staffs and the top 24 forwards, 12 defencemen and four goalies get roster spots.
When a player declines an invitation, he’s replaced by the next highest vote-getter, which is what happened to Dauphin when Hunter Shinkaruk took a pass because he had the flu.
Dauphin had two other good scoring chances — including one in which he rattled the puck off the post.
“He played really, really well,” said Kyle Woodlief, the chief scout and publisher of Red Line Report, a Lake Placid, N.Y., based scouting agency.
Chris Edwards, the senior North American scouting for Central Scouting said Dauphin was “creative and skilled.”
Plymouth Whalers forward Ryan Hartman gave notice early that the game would not resemble an all-star-style shootout. He delivered a teeth-rattling open-ice hit on Dauphin just 20 seconds into the game.
It was the only highlight of the early going for Team Cherry, which was outshot 9-1 before the midway part of the first period.
Don Cherry said Hartman’s hit got Dauphin going. On his next shift, Dauphin made a nice rush to set up the game’s first goal.
“I was a little bit pissed, but that’s the game,” said Dauphin.
Team Orr scored the only goal of the opening frame when Dauphin shook off Hartman’s hit and made a nice rush on his next shift, passing to Portland Winter Hawks defenceman Seth Jones in the slot.
Halifax Mooseheads goalie Zachary Fucale stopped Jones’ one-timer, but Quebec Remparts forward Adam Erne banged home the rebound at the 3:39 mark.
Fucale, the top-ranked North American goalie in NHL Central Scouting’s rankings, allowed three goals on 20 shots.
Team Cherry — the home favourite because of the three Halifax Mooseheads on the team — didn’t get their first good scoring chance until Spencer Martin of the Mississauga Steelheads had to make a nice pad save on Halifax’s Jonathan Drouin at the nine-minute mark of the first.
The game’s intensity went up a notch after a scuffle behind the net between Hartman and Kerby Rychel of the Windsor Spitfires erupted into a fight — the first of two scraps in the game.
“I’ve been here 14 years and that first period is the best period I’ve ever seen,” Cherry said. “Boy, you can see this game is not an all-star game. There was more hitting tonight than you’ll see in 10 NHL games.”
Team Orr coach Mike McPhee was impressed with the speed and skill.
“The quick feet that they have is amazing,” said the former NHLer. “I don’t know if I could have played in this game.”
Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds defenceman Darnell Nurse made a big hit on Portland Winter Hawks forward Oliver Bjorkstrand and impressed Woodlief.
“He’s done a really good job a both ends,” Woodlief said during the second intermission.
London Knights defenceman Nikita Zadorov made the first of two big hits early in the second when he crushed countryman Valentin Zykov of the Baie-Comeau Drakkar. Zadorov finished the second period with a bang when he slammed Val-d’Or Foreurs winger Anthony Mantha into the boards.
Zadorov wowed the Metro Centre crowd of 10,595 with his hits, but Woodlief said he was “caught out of position several times, so that is a little drawback.”
Dauphin’s wrist shot from the slot at 4:07 in the second made it 2-0, beating Fucale to the glove side on a soft goal.
Portland Winter Hawks forward Nicolas Petan made it 3-0 in the second when Quebec Remparts winger Anthony Duclair feathered a nice pass to the diminutive Petan, who was streaking in on net. The Western Hockey League’s leading scorer beat Fucale at 7:24 low to the stick side.
The goalies switched at 11:21 of the second, as Rimouski Oceanic netminder Philippe Desrosiers replaced Spencer Martin, who stopped all 16 shots he faced for Team Orr.
Tristan Jarry of the Edmonton Oil Kings took over the goalkeeping duties from Fucale for Team Cherry and earned player-of-the-game honours for his squad.
Jordan Subban and Frederik Gauthier impressed Edwards on Team Cherry.
“Gauthier played a solid two-way game,” Edward said. “He’s so smart and skilled and he won most draws.”
Team Cherry’s best scoring chance came early in the third period on a rare power play — just one of three in the game — but Desrosiers made a nice stop on Hartman’s point-blank one-timer.