BUFFALO, New York – Team Leetch topped Team Chelios, 6-5, here tonight in the sixth annual CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York. Brady Tkachuk (St. Louis, Mo./Boston University) scored the game-winner with just over five minutes remaining and added an assist to earn Player of the Game honors.
Jake Pivonka (Naperville, Ill./U.S. National Under-18 Team) opened the scoring for Team Leetch 6:01 into the contest when he buried a centering pass by Jack Randl (Carpentersville, Ill./Omaha Lancers) past goaltender Drew ReRidder (Fenton, Mich./U.S. National Under-18 Team).
Paul Cotter (Canton, Mich./Lincoln Stars) evened the score for Team Chelios with just over five minutes remaining in the opening frame. Cotter collected the puck in the corner, skated out in front and slid the puck by goaltender Jonathan Mor (Highland Park, Ill./U.S. National Under-18 Team) to tie the game after one period.
Team Leetch regained the lead 6:50 into the middle stanza on a tally by Ryan Savage (Scottsdale, Ariz./Fargo Force) before Team Chelios tied the contest less than three minutes later when Oliver Wahlstrom (Quincy, Mass./U.S. National Under-18 Team) finished a one-timer from Joel Farabee (Cicero, N.Y./U.S. National Under-18 Team).
Just over a minute after Wahlstrom’s tally, Blake McLaughlin (Grand Rapids, Minn./Chicago Steel/Grand Rapids High) gave Team Leetch a 3-2 advantage when he banged home a cross-crease pass from Tkachuk.
Savage scored his second goal of the night on a wrist shot from the right circle with 3:52 left in the middle frame to give Team Leetch a two-goal lead entering the final period.
Randl made it 5-2 in favor of Team Leetch 2:09 into the third stanza before Team Chelios responded with a trio of goals in the next 2:55. Jay O’Brien (Hingham, Mass./Thayer Academy) started the scoring before Jack Perbix (Elk River, Minn./Elk River High) and Ryan O’Reilly (Southlake, Texas/Madison Capitols) each tallied to knot the score, 5-5.
With just over five minutes to play, Christian Krygier (Novi, Mich./Lincoln Stars) found Tkachuk at the right face-off dot for a one-timer that proved to be the game-winning goal for Team Leetch.
DeRidder started the game for Team Chelios, finishing with 11 saves before Ben Kraws (Cranbury, N.J./Buffalo Jr. Sabres) turned aside 15 of 19 shots in relief. Mor, who started in net for Team Leetch, collected 10 saves before Jake Kucharski (Erie, Pa./Des Moines Buccaneers) made 12 saves in the victory.
NOTES: For full game statistics, click here … The 11 combined goals are the most in CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game history … Players selected to compete in the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game were chosen by USA Hockey in conjunction with NHL Central Scouting … The game featured 42 of the best U.S.-born players eligible for the 2018 NHL Draft, of which 39 appear on the 2017-18 NHL Central Scouting Pre-Season Futures List that designates players with potential to be selected in the first three rounds of the draft … To date, 127 players who have participated in the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game have gone on to be selected in the NHL Draft, including 30 first-round selections. For a complete list of AAPG alums that have been selected in the NHL Draft, click here.