The St. Louis Blues opened up the 2017 Traverse City Prospect Tournament with a heartbreaking 6-5 loss to the Minnesota Wild. In case you didn’t know, the Traverse City Prospect Tournament is an eight-team tournament held every year before NHL training camps begin in September. It’s a chance for NHL teams to showcase their prospects and see them perform against prospects from other clubs to help see where they’re at.
The Blues started off the tournament with a devastating loss on Friday to the Wild. The Blues struck first, with 2014 3rd round pick defenseman Jake Walman burying a rebound off of an Adam Musil shot to give the Blues a 1-0 lead just passed the midway point of the first period. The Blues held that lead going into the break.
The #stlblues prospects take an early lead as Musil (54) gets the steal and Walman (46) cleans up in front! https://t.co/dgkUul8ff5
Then just four and a half minutes into the second, the Wild tied the game on a goal from Ivan Lodnia, a 3rd round pick by the Wild this past summer. The Wild controlled much of the play in the early going of the second period, but the tide would soon shift. Alexei Toropchenko, the Blues 4th round pick from this year’s draft, scored off an assist from Walman to put the Blues back in front just a few minutes after Lodnia’s goal.
More goals! The #stlblues prospects strike three more times in the second period. Starting it off was Alexey Toropchenko. https://t.co/52Sq9Fq3Qj
Then just 17 seconds later, the 20th overall pick back in June in Robert Thomas made it 3-1 for the Blues on a beauty of a shot. Thomas has drew comparisons to current NHLer Derek Stepan in terms of his style of play.
and then Klim Kostin #stlblues https://t.co/wrce03N9VH
The goal was credited to Klim Kostin, but Thomas actually scored the goal, as the announcers of the broadcast reassured.
Just over three minutes later, defenseman Niko Mikkola, the 2015 5th round pick by the Blues joined the party and scored off of a feed from Thomas to make it 4-1 Blues. This capped off a stretch where the Blues scored three goals in 3:35. They took this lead into the second intermission.
and then Niko Mikkola! #stlblues https://t.co/p62CjoKnQZ
Early in the third period, Klim Kostin, the player who was drafted with the pick the Blues received in the Ryan Reaves trade, scored on the power play to put the Blues up 5-1 early in the third.
Another one! The #stlblues prospects take a 5-1 lead on the power play with a tally by Kostin. https://t.co/ttIppbpQ73
But then Luke Kunin, the Chesterfield, MO native and current Wild prospect finally stopped the bleeding for Minnesota, scoring a goal to make it 5-2 just passed the midway point in the third. With just over four minutes remaining, former Wild first round pick Joel Eriksson Ek buried one to make the game interesting, cutting the Blues lead to 5-3.
Minnesota didn’t stop there, as they scored with three minutes remaining with the extra attacker on the ice. Then again with the extra attacker, of the Wild slammed home the game tying goal. As if things couldn’t get worse, Kunin buried another one past Blues goaltender Evan Fitzpatrick, this one on the short side, giving the Wild a 6-5 lead with 1:05 remaining, a lead they would hold until the end. The Blues led 5-1 with 15 minutes left in the game, but the resurgence by the Wild, which included scoring five goals over an eight minute span, helped push them past the Blues to give them a 6-5 win in the first game of the tournament.
The Blues have two more games in the tournament before they play in a place game. They take on the Dallas Stars tomorrow at 6:00pm. They then get Sunday off and take on the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday, September 11th at 2:00pm. The Blues will also play in one final game on Tuesday. It will be either the 7th, 5th, 3rd place, or the championship game, dependent on how they do in the next two games. All games are available exclusively on the Fox Sports Go app.