The Arizona Coyotes prospects faced the Los Angeles Kings prospects in the first hockey game of rookie training camp.
The Coyotes' line combinations seemed to work well, but the Kings had more speed and pressure on the Coyotes' net showing they deserved the win.
The lines, chosen by AHL Tucson Roadrunners Head Coach Mark Lamb, were as follows:
Brendan Perlini-Dylan Strome-Conor Garland
Lawson Crouse-Christian Dvorak-Christian Fischer
Michael Bunting-Ryan MacInnis-Lane Pederson
Alex Goulet-Niki Petti-Noah Bushnell
First period action
In the first period, Fischer had two shots on goal, one being of the short-handed variety. He played a good game and had a breakaway in the final stanza to create a good scoring chance to boot.
Dylan Strome seemed quite invisible, but did get a good centering pass in the slot in the first period, although it didn't hit the mark.
The Kings got on the board first by when Matt Luff fired a wrist shot by Coyotes' netminder Marek Langhamer, who will be playing net for the Rapid City, South Dakota ECHL affiliate of the Coyotes' this season.
The Coyotes weren't without scoring chances in the initial period, with Lawson Crouse making room in front of the net to get away a shot which didn't hit paydirt.
Crouse looked very comfortable out on the ice in his first appearance in a Coyotes' uniform since he was traded to Arizona by the Florida Panthers who selected him as the 11th overall pick in the NHL Entry Draft this summer. He skated well for a big man, and made his presence known to the Kings.
At the halfway mark of the period, Michael Bunting had a breakaway and didn't capitalize on it. He is an excellent skater, and his speed fits right into the Coyotes' template of fast, young players.
The Kings led 1-0 after one.
Second period details
The Kings opened the scoring in the middle period when Sam Herr finished off a wrap-around move perfectly to whistle a shot past Langhamer.
At 11:24 of the second period, Christian Dvorak showed why he'll be a asset. He fired a wrister by the LA goalie Jack Flinn up high near the crossbar. He was assisted by newcomer Crouse who pressured the LA goal right before Dvorak lit the lamp. That cut the LA lead in half.
When a player can place a shot up in the breadbasket like that, you know he is a sharpshooter.
Beyond that, Dvorak showed his skating prowess as he broke down the wing on various occasions, but always got back to cover his defensive responsibilities. That's the sign of a good two-way player, and the kind of player who will put a smile on Head Coach Dave Tippett's face and that's not an easy undertaking.
Another player who stood out was feisty right wing Conor Garland. His speed caught the Kings looking stunned a couple times and he really uses the head fake to maneuver around defenders.
Kings took third period lead 3-1
In the final period, Ryan MacInnis had the third breakaway of the game for the Yotes, and for the third time it was not successful.
The play got a bit chippy as Michael Bunting was trying to defend his team-mate Capobianco, who was being manhandled by the Kings' Jonny Brodzinski. Bunting was jawing at Brodzinski as he went to the LA bench.
Then, at 8:07 of the period Brodzinski had the last laugh as he also victimized Langhamer by wrapping around the net while waiting for his opposing goalie to make the first move... which he did resulting in the third LA goal.
Head Coach Lamb then decided to see what his team had left by pulling his goalie with 2:43 left in the period. The Coyotes maintained some pressure, but failed to get the puck by the red line.
Overall, it was not the best performance by the Coyotes who were outplayed through most of the contest.
They'll do it all again tomorrow afternoon at 2pm, when Coach Lamb will put Adin Hill in the net. For some reason Jakob Chychrun did not play. Let's hope he gets some ice time to show off his talents in this afternoon game.