For the second game in a row, a local boy made good for the Blues' prospects in the 2015 Traverse City Prospect Tournament.
On Saturday, 2015 draft pick and Effingham native Luke Opilka posted his first shutout as a member of the Blues' organization, turning aside all 19 shots he faced as the "Baby Blues" whitewashed the New York Rangers 2-0. Yesterday, it was 2013 draftee Zach Pochiro's turn to shine, as the scrappy St. Louis native assisted on what would prove to be the game-winning goal in the second period, and took over the third period with two more assists and a power-play goal to help stake the Blues to a 7-1 trouncing of the Minnesota Wild prospects.
Pochiro's big game comes less than three weeks after the Blues ran a feature story on their website about him, a story in which Pochiro himself showed he might have a future as the heir to Nostradamus if his hockey career should stall out.
"I really hope to make a good impression this year at the Traverse City (Prospects Tournament)," Pochiro said. "Then I want to make my mark with the Chicago Wolves because hopefully I'm playing there. I'd like to get a couple games in the NHL this year…and next summer, come with a whole new mindset of making the team versus just trying not to step on anyone’s toes."
Pochiro was not the only Blues' prospect to post a multiple-point game on Monday. 2014 first-round pick Robby Fabbri scored a goal and added a pair of assists for three points, while defensemen Jordan Schmaltz and team captain Colton Parayko each posted a goal and an assist. Schmaltz' goal -- assisted by Pochiro and Jaedon Descheneau on the power play -- was the game-winner.
Goaltender Niklas Lundström, facing long odds to displace AHL veterans Jordan Binnington and newly-acquired Pheonix Copley with the Wolves this year, served notice that he's up to the challenge by turning aside 27 of 28 Wild shots.
Here is the game recap in its entirety, as posted on the Blues' website (LINK):
Game 3 - Blues 7, Wild 1
The Blues were dominant through their final game of round-robin play, torching the Minnesota Wild 7-1 on Monday. Samuel Blais started the scoring in the first period and Jordan Schmaltz doubled the lead with a power-play goal halfway through the second period. After the Wild tallied to make it 2-1, the Blues rattled off five straight goals, including a shorthanded marker from Ivan Barbashev, a power-play tally from Colton Parayko and even-strength goals from Glenn Gawdin, Robby Fabbri and Zach Pochiro, who finished with a goal and three assists.
The Blues wrapped up round-robin play in second place in the Ted Lindsay Division with a 2-1-0 record (11 GF/6 GA), and meet the prospects of the Carolina Hurricanes this afternoon at 5:30 PM CDT in the Bronze Medal game. The 'Canes took second spot in the Gordie Howe Division, also with a 2-1-0 record, and defeated the Chicago Blackhawks' prospects 7-5 yesterday to set up their meeting with the Blues.
LINK to Game Three box score at Pointstreak dot com.
LINK to Blues' tournament stats at Pointstreak dot com.
LINK to tournament standings at Pointstreak dot com.