KELOWNA, B.C. — Three stars from Wednesday's CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, won by Team Orr 2-1:
No. 1 star: Branden Troock, Team Orr (Seattle Thunderbirds, WHL)
Troock showed why he's considered such a promising power forward, as he used his speed to beat a defender wide, then cut in on goal and deke Matt Murray for the game-winning goal with 24.5 seconds left. He factored in both Orr goals in the lowest-scoring contest in the event's history, also getting the second assist on Griffin Reinhart's opening goal in the second stanza.
The game-winner was presaged by Team Orr coach Pat Quinn pulling Troock aside during the second intermission after the big forward missed a chance during that period.
"In between the second and third period after I missed that net when I was going top right [corner] he pulled me into the hallway and said ... what did he say?" Troock said. "He said, 'you had a hole the size that you can fit in a rocket in there.' I just wanted to get one in there after that."
The Edmonton native missed a season and a half with nerve damage in his neck resulting from a blindside hit he suffered as a 15-year-old in the fall of 2009, so one can only imagine what a load it was off his mind to shine tonight. Troock's line, which typically featured him with captain Colton Sissons of the host Kelowna Rockets and Rimouski Océanic speedster Francis Beauvillier, generated most of Team Orr's chances. The Edmonton native also not only helped set up Reinhart's goal but set a great screen in front of goalie Brandon Whitney.
No. 2 star: Matt Murray, Team Cherry (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, OHL)
The rangy Thunder Bay native was the main reason Team Cherry had a chance to win the game with two minutes left, making a game-high 17 saves on 18 shots. The 6-foot-4 goalie came in cold off the bench and made a good save almost immediately. In the third period, Murray stoned Raphael Bussières from point-blank range and also made successive saves on the OHL's second-leading scorer, Tanner Pearson, to preserve the 1-1 tie. He did not have much of a chance on Troock's game-winner, as the forward came in unmolested and had time to use his reach to complete the play and bring the crowd of 5,022 to its feet. Murray was easily the most tested and most impressive of the four goaltenders.
Read More »from Wednesday’s 3 Stars, Top Prospects edition: Troock wins it for Team Orr