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Colorado Avalanche Prospect Tournament Recap

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1-2 in the tournament, but the stars showed up.

Los Angeles Kings v Colorado Avalanche
IRVINE, CA - SEPTEMBER 8: Austin Strand #71 of the Los Angeles Kings battles after the whistle against Joe Wegwerth #55 of the Colorado Avalanche during the Anaheim Rookie Faceoff Tournament at Great Park Ice on September 8, 2019 in Irvine, California.
Photo by Foster Snell/NHLI via Getty Images

Congratulations everyone, you made it through the NHL offseason alive and hopefully in one piece. The preseason prospect tournaments are officially over, meaning we can get into real training camp at the end of the week. Just to close up this chapter, here is a recap of the baby Colorado Avalanche’s time playing against three Pacific division foes in a rookie tournament held in Anaheim, California.

The Avs went 1-2 in the tournament, coming out of the gate hot, but slowing down midway through before quietly closing out the three-game set in a disappointing fashion on the ice. Bowen Byram, Nick Henry, Shane Bowers, Conor Timmins, and Alex Beaucage led the team through the tournament and each contributed in their own way.

Byram was as advertised in his two games over the weekend, while Henry showed some real leadership in his role on the first line. Timmins was able to get on the ice and play in a game for the first time in what feels like forever, which is an amazing step for him, and newcomer Alex Beaucage surprised us with a lot of shots in his first tournament in an Avalanche jersey.

Game 1 vs VGK

The Baby Avs kicked off the prospect tournament in stride, beating the Vegas Golden Knights prospects by a score of 5-2 on Saturday afternoon. The boys had a lot of jump right out of the gate, out-shooting the Golden Knights 11-5 in the first period.

It wasn’t until the second period when the scoring started, with Vegas getting the first one on Hunter Miska within the first two minutes. The Avalanche responded with four throughout the period. Shane Bowers, Bowen Byram, and Nick Henry each recorded two primary points, meaning at least one of the trio was directly involved in each of the goals scored by the Avalanche.

Miska swapped with Trent Miner after the 3-1 goal, and the 18-year-old was able to stop 13 of 14 in the final period and a half, finishing the game in style. Igor Shvyrev scored the empty netter to close out the game.

Boxscore

Lineup

Forwards

Nick Henry - Shane Bowers - Martin Kaut
Igor Shvyrev - Josh Dickinson - Alex Beaucage
Ty Lewis - Brandon Saigeon - Logan O’Connor
Luka Burzan - Travis Barron - Sasha Mutala

Defense

Bowen Byram - Conor Timmins
Josh Anderson - Kevin Davis
Peter Tischke - Sasha Larocque

Goalies

Hunter Miska
Trent Miner

Highlights

1-1

On the first goal, Bowers entered the zone with authority and speed, pushing the defensemen back. This allowed Henry to step into the open space and take a clean shot that beat Knights goalie Jiri Patera from distance. It was a great combination of aggressiveness, coordination, and execution by the two prospects. Kaut took the secondary assist from his breakout to Byram.

2-1

Bowers and Kaut tried the same pattern on the power play later in the period, but got their attempt broken up. They stayed with the puck, however, and were able to retain possession in the offensive zone. After the puck moved around the perimeter for a little bit, AHL prospect Kevin Davis made a great play, stepping into the middle of the ice before passing to Henry on the left wing. Henry’s shot was stopped but the rebound came to Bowers, who converted on the rebound. It was fitting that he both started and ended the play.

4-1

Bowers was once again in the thick of this play as he and Byram worked together to settle the puck down in the slot after an imperfect zone entry. Luckily for them, Byram was able to bat the puck to Luka Burzan, who readied, aimed, and fired a beautiful shot up and over Patera for the Avs’ fourth goal of the night. This was the dagger at the end of the second that really set the Avs up for a clean third period.

Three Stars

  1. Nick Henry - 1g, 1a, 5 shots
  2. Bowen Byram - 0g, 2a, 1 shot
  3. Shane Bowers - 1g, 1a, 4 shots

Game 2 vs LAK

Game two wasn’t nearly as fun as the first one the day before. The Avalanche got shelled by the Los Angeles Kings, giving up five unanswered goals in a 6-1 rout. The first period was quite even between the two teams, but the Avs were still down 2-1 after one. In the second, the boys got four power plays (including a 5-on-3!) but failed to score on any of them. The Kings were able to score on their lone power play in the period and added another at the end of the period for good measure. By the third, the Avs didn’t have much fight in them, they got out-shot 7-15 in the final frame, giving up two more goals in the process.

Miner was in net for all 60 minutes and gave up six on 38 shots in the loss. He had a 6.00 GAA and a .842 SV% in the game.

The Avs dressed closer to an ECHL roster comprised of inexperienced rookies. They didn’t quite have the skill to keep up with the Kings, and in the post-game nervousness was brought up a few times by the players and coaching staff. Training camp is a stressful time. At least this game didn’t mean anything.

Boxscore

Lineup

Forwards

Luka Burzan - Shane Bowers - Nick Henry
Igor Shvyrev - Felix Lauzon - Bryce Kindopp
Navrin Nutter - Brandon Saigeon - Alex Beaucage
Joe Wegwerth - Logan Barlage - Sasha Mutala

Defense

Bowen Byram - Kevin Davis
Samuel Regis - Nolan Kneen
Wyatt McLeod - Sasha Larocque

Goalies

Trent Miner
Hunter Miska

Highlight

1-1

There was only one Avs goal in this game and it was Alex Beaucage on a delayed penalty call midway through the first period. Wyatt McLeod left him an untidy drop pass deep in the offensive zone, but the 18-year-old was able to spin away from a check and drive the net with power, getting rewarded with a goal as a result.

Three Stars

  1. Alex Beaucage - 1g, 0a, 3 shots, +1
  2. Luka Burzan - 0g, 0a, 6 shots, +0
  3. Brandon Saigeon - 0g, 0a, 4 shots, +1

Game 3 vs ARI

The Avalanche concluded their preseason tournament with a 2-0 loss to the Arizona Coyotes. The Avs were relatively decent in terms of shot numbers, they led the shot battle 34-26 and even kept the Coyotes to only four shots in the first. Unfortunately, they couldn’t get any puck luck and left the game empty-handed. They were also 0/4 on the power play and 1/14 in the tournament.

In the first, the Avalanche did a great job, limiting the Coyotes to only four shots in the period while shooting nine themselves. They had a pair of early power plays but failed to get anything going on either of them. In the second, the shots were a little more even, as were the penalties (1-1).

By the end of the second, the Coyotes had taken three penalties: roughing, boarding, boarding. Things were getting chippy and they boiled over in the third. There two two fights, two sets of coincidental minors, and a game misconduct in the third. You can find the full boxscore in the link below. It was a messy period and a disappointing end to the preseason tournament.

Adam Werner started the game after suffering an injury that kept him out of the first two games. He stopped 24 of 26 shots in the loss, playing all 60 minutes.

Boxscore

Lineup

Forwards

Nick Henry - Shane Bowers - Martin Kaut
Ty Lewis - Josh Dickinson - Logan O’Connor
Luka Burzan - Brandon Saigeon - Sasha Mutala
Alex Beaucage - Travis Barron - Bryce Kindopp

Defense

Wyatt McLeod - Conor Timmins
Josh Anderson - Kevin Davis
Peter Tischke - Sasha Larocque

Goalies

Adam Werner
Trent Miner

Highlights

There were none, but as a bonus, here is coach Greg Cronin speaking about what he saw in the game. His top-six forwards were AHLers who were able to play at a high pace and drive the play forward very well while the bottom six (a collection of invites and draft picks) struggled to assert themselves in the game.

Three Stars

  1. Shane Bowers - 0g, 0a, 5 shots, -1
  2. Conor Timmins - 0g, 0a, 1 shot, +0
  3. Alex Beaucage - 0g, 0a, 4 shots, -1