The South Division gave up a 2-1 lead in the third, falling 3-2 to the North Division in the first game of the Top Prospects Tournament in Ann Arbor, MI on Monday afternoon.
The first period was what might have been expected, with both teams assembling shortly before the 4:30 pm EST faceoff. The North would seemingly have a small travel advantage, with most players coming from within the state, while the South players all had air travel to contend with. The North, predictably, came out hot looking to catch the South flat footed. It was just :24 seconds into the game when the North\’s Nick Shkreli (Traverse City) jammed home a doorstep loose puck past Dan Sullivan (Texas) for a 1-0 North lead. The North outshot the South 11-5 in the first period.
In the second period, the South got their feet under them a little better, and generated some quality scoring opportunities, erupting to take a 2-1 lead when first Rock Einerson (Texas) snapped home a shot off the crossbar and into the goal at 18:19, and then :18 seconds later, Chris Ciotti (St. Louis) fired a shot past Kevin Kissaw (Marquette). Evan Karambelas (Topeka) came in about the midway point of the 2nd period in a predetermined move to split time between the two goaltenders. The 2-1 South lead stood at the end of two periods.
In the third period, both teams had some quality chances, and the North tied it up at 15:03 as Karambelas made a couple of saves before Scott Henegar (Marquette) knocked it in to tie the game at 2-2. Then, much like the South had done in the second period, the North scored again at 16:12 as R.J. Kleiman (Motor City) put the North on top for good. The South pulled Karambelas for the extra attacker but the North withstood the attack and held on for the 3-2 win in the first game of the Top Prospects Tournament. Shots on goal were 27-25 in favor of the South in a losing effort.
The game was a clean affair, with only two penalties called, both coming in the first period. The South will return to the ice Tuesday night to face the Central Prospects at 7:30 pm EST. The North will battle the West at 4:30 pm EST.