TEAM EAST DEFEATS TEAM WEST 6-2
Ralston, NE – It was a record-setting crowd of 3,328 at Ralston Arena for the 2016 USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game as Team East defeated Team West 6-2 on Tuesday Night. Ross Colton ripped five points and Michael O’Leary had three assists, helping Team East cruise past Team West, 6-2, in the 2016 USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game Tuesday at Ralston Arena.
Representing the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, the Team East M.V.P. Colton tallied the first hat trick in USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game history, scoring all three of his goals on feeds from Dubuque’s O’Leary. Team West scored twice in the third, but Colton had two points in the first and two goals in the third to keep Team East in front.
More than 100 scouts and representatives from all 30 NHL Teams attended the fourth edition of the Top Prospects Game and were treated to a fast-paced, high-scoring game. Waterloo’s Cale Morris and Des Moines’ Jan Ruzicka combined for 26 saves in Team East’s win.
The chemistry between Colton and O’Leary appeared 2:19 into the game when O’Leary put Team East on the board, deflecting a net front pass from Colton. The puck, plus O’Leary’s jersey, gloves and stick will be delivered to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, Ontario.
O’Leary returned the favor to Colton later in the first, dishing to the University of Vermont commit for a slap shot and tally from the right wing at 13:39 of the first. Dubuque’s Willie Knierim received the secondary helper.
A native of Robbinsville, NJ, Colton represented the bronze-medal winning U.S. Jr. Select Team in the 2015 World Jr. A Challenge, finishing the tourney tied for fourth on the U.S. with five points. Knierim finished with a pair of assists and fought Sioux City defenseman Michael Boyle at 15:32 of the third.
After the two early goals by East, the game settled into a defensive showdown until the clubs combined for six goals in the third. Starting Team West goalie Peyton Jones finished the night with 15 saves on 17 shots before Lancers netminder Zach Skog stepped in for the final half of the game and made nine saves. Cale Morris was a perfect 12-for-12 for Team East before handing goaltending duties to Jan Ruzicka, who yielded twice on 16 shots.
Tri-City Storm forward Wade Allison brought Team West within one 1:07 into the third, dinging a dish from Bloomington’s Vlad Dzhioshvili. Green Bay Gamblers’ defenseman Andrew Peeke received the secondary helper.
Colton’s second goal just 1:14 later, assisted by O’Leary, put Team West in a two-goal hole, 3-1.
Allison revved Team West’s offensive motor five minutes later, backhanding a pass to Sioux City forward C.J. Dodero at 7:26 of the final frame. Dodero slammed Allison’s dish to short post to get Team East back within a goal.
A Western Michigan commit, Allison took M.V.P. for Team East with a goal and an assist. With Team East in danger of losing its lead, Colton received a stretch pass from O’Leary and went top shelf to put Team East in a two-goal hole once more.
With the net empty and 1:18 left on the clock, Youngstown’s Luke McInnis scored into an empty net with assists from Cedar Rapids forwards Sam Sternschein and Matt Filipe. Colton completed his five-point evening 43 seconds later, passing to the left wing where Youngstown’s Cam Morrison scored to complete the scoring.
The Lancers return home Friday night to face the Sioux City Musketeers. Puck drops at 7:05 p.m. for Donate Life Night! Can’t make it? Fans can listen live to the game beginning at 6:50 p.m. with the Valpak Pregame Show on “The Mighty” 1290 KOIL, Mighty 1290 KOIL Mobile APP, www.mighty1290koil.com, and www.FASTHockey.com.
Stay current with the latest team news or purchase the best available tickets by visiting www.lancers.com or downloading the Omaha Lancers mobile app for Android and iPhone. In addition stay connected with the Lancers on Facebook (/omahalancers), Twitter (@omahalancers), and the team’s Youtube channel (/lancershockey).
* Disclaimer: This site may contain advice, opinions and statements from various authors and information providers. Views expressed in this article reflect the personal opinion of the author, and not necessarily the views of JuniorHockey.ca. JuniorHockey.ca does not represent or endorse the accuracy or reliability of any advice, opinion, statement or other info provided in the article, or from any other member of this site.