A tragic, hate-fueled mosque shooting on Sunday night made for a sombre Monday morning in Quebec City, but after some deliberation it was decided that the CHL/NHL Prospects game would proceed as planned. Although all eyes were on highly-regarded captains Nolan Patrick and Nico Hischier, the large OHL representation at the tournament was responsible for many of the game’s best highlights.
After 60 minutes, Team Cherry had earned a 7-5 win—its first since 2012. The showdown between Patrick and Hischier lived up to its top billing, with both making solid cases for themselves at first overall in the upcoming 2017 NHL Entry Draft. But with 245-ish more spots for teams to draft from, every one of these players was looking to raise their stock—and a few did so with gusto.
Here are the top five OHL Performers at the 2017 CHL NHL Top Prospects Game.
1. Michael DiPietro, G, Windsor Spitfires
Ranked eighth in ISS’s Top 10 Goalie prospects this month, DiPietro has become a household name for OHL fans this season. The quick, athletic young netminder leads the league in both goals-against (2.15) and in save percentage (.925), a large reason why Windsor has been able to compete with the big dogs in the league’s dominant Western Conference. Although DiPietro was in the net late in the game while Team Cherry took the lead, he stopped 14 of 16 shots—many of which were of the high-percentage variety.
2. Sasha Chmelevski, C, Ottawa 67’s
If it’s true that everybody remembers the beginning and end of a game the most, several NHL scouts are mulling over Sasha Chmelevski this morning. Currently ranked 19th by ISS, Team Orr’s Chmelevski knocked the puck away from Artyom Minulin at centre ice and proceeded to hunt the puck down deep in enemy territory. After beating Minulin to the puck and turning with it, he made a nifty move to the net and roofed it short side on goaltender Ian Scott. It was a big-time play in front of a lot of fresh eyes.
3. Gabriel Vilardi, C, Windsor Spitfires
Another Spitfire, most scouting agencies have Gabriel Vilardi in the top five (4th on ISS), and with good reason. Vilardi has that projectable speed and shot release that make the NHL transition so much easier. He used his speed to buzz around the net all night and generally made life miserable for Team Orr, putting six shots on net. He finally scoring late in the second period after going to the crease and knocking in Henri Jokiharju’s rebound.
4. MacKenzie Entwistle, RW, Hamilton Bulldogs
MacKenzie Entwistle is another player whom defenders had a hard time containing. The big forward played to his strengths with a tough, gritty game. He scored to tie the game up just after Hischier had put Team Orr ahead 3-2, taking the puck away from Cody Glass in the neutral zone and confidently breaking into the zone before placing a perfect shot on the far side. He later added an assist on the empty net insurance goal.
5. Owen Tippett, RW, Mississauga Steelheads
Owen Tippett’s speed and shot have been highly regarded since he entered the OHL, and with 36 goals in 45 games, he is a lock for the top ten. He scored the eventual game winner for Team Cherry on the power play at 8:32 of the third period, taking a quick pass from Patrick and stuffing it past DiPietro from in tight. Tippett also assisted on Maxime Comtois’s go-ahead goal at 8:09 of the second period.
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