TUCH AND ROLL: USA ROUTS SWEDEN AT JR. CAMP
Compher & Fasching both impressive for Team USA in big win
J.T. Compher produced a pair of assists Wednesday as Team USA rolled past Sweden 7-1 at the U.S. National Junior Evaluation Camp. Alex Tuch (MIN) potted a hat trick and stud 2015 draft prospect Jack Eichel recorded three assists to pace the U.S. attack. Ryan Collins (COL) added a pair of goals for the victors.
WATCH: GAME HIGHLIGHTS
Compher moved back to right wing on a line with Chase De Leo (WPG) and Anthony Louis (CHI), while fellow Sabres prospect Hudson Fasching skated down the right side on the fourth line with 2014 first-round picks Sonny Milano (CBJ) and Dylan Larkin (DET).
For Sweden, Jonas Johansson (2014, third round) earned the start, stopping 16 of 22 shots before leaving the game early in the third period. Victor Olofsson (2014, seventh round) was elevated to Sweden’s top line with Lucas Wallmark (CAR) and Jacob de la Rose (MTL).
Team USA drew first blood on the power play with 6:41 left in the opening period when Compher, manning the left point on the top power-play unit, tipped a pass to Michael Downing (FLA) for the one timer.
The 1-0 lead would hold up until the intermission, but the score would change quickly as the Americans uncorked a four-goal bottle of bubbly during an entertaining middle frame.
With Olofsson in the penalty box for interference, Tuch made it a 2-0 game just 52 seconds in by flipping the puck past the outstretched leg of Johansson. Compher received the primary assist on the play for his fifth point of the tournament.
USA continued their second-period mastery with a great shift that ended with Collins beating Johansson cleanly from the top of the faceoff circle at 7:34.
Just over a minute later, a brilliant individual effort by Eichel led to Tuch cashing a tap-in for his second of the game to increase the USA lead to 4-0.
Yale’s John Hayden (CHI) completed the four-goal barrage at 13:33 with a power-play marker from the doorstep.
Axel Blomqvist (WPG) finally cracked USA goaltender Thatcher Demko (VAN) just 12 seconds into the third period, but the Americans answered back less than three minutes later with Tuch’s hat trick tally from the right wing.
The Tuch goal chased Johansson from the Swedish cage, making way for Fredrik Bergvik (SJS) to play out the remainder of regulation.
Team USA capped off the offensive attack as Collins flung a wrist shot towards the net that deflected off a Swedish defender past Bergvik for his second goal of the game.
Despite not getting in on the scoring, Fasching had an excellent game for Team USA. He went hard both ways and looked fresh and explosive playing at a high pace. His line did a good job pinning the Swedes deep in their zone early as Team USA worked the possession game to success.
Aside from his two assists, Compher was particularly good all the way around with his skating, vision, and tight defensive style. More importantly, the University of Michigan standout showed great heart and leadership late in the third period when he blocked numerous shot attempts with his team down two men while enjoying a 7-1 lead.
Anthony Florentino (2013, fifth round) sat out the contest as the U.S. opted to use 2015 draft prospect Brandon Carlo of the WHL’s Tri-City Americans as the seventh defender.
Team USA gets right back at it Thursday with a matchup versus Finland at 4 p.m. ET.
At Canada’s National Junior Team Summer Development Camp, Nicholas Baptiste (2013, third round) earned an assist on the game’s final goal as Canada toppled Russia 5-2 in Sherbrooke, QC.
Robby Fabbri (STL), Nick Ritchie (ANA) and Bo Horvat (VAN) each scored a goal and an assist for Canada, while Michael Dal Colle (NYI) and Madison Bowey (WAS) added singles. Rinat Valiev (TOR) notched the lone Russian goal.
The speedy Baptiste, who was placed in a top line role with Max Domi (ARZ) and Nic Petan (WPG), was all over the ice providing smart puck movement and plenty of big hits, including one that led to an elbowing penalty in the third period. His ability to jam the net earned him some looks on the power play as well.
Sam Reinhart (2014, first round) was given the night off following a two-goal outing in Tuesday’s win over the Czech Republic.
Canada and Russia will remain in Sherbrooke for a rematch on Thursday night.
For more on all the youngsters in the Sabres pipeline, check out Kris Baker’s web site - sabresprospects.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @sabresprospects for in-game updates throughout the week on any Buffalo prospects that are in action.