A young Colorado Avalanche roster accompanied head coach Jared Bednar to Minnesota to take on the Wild for preseason game number three and it showed. The Minnesota Wild electing to play basically their opening night roster in front of their home crowd handily won the game by a 3-1 score. There was no legal, or otherwise, video coverage available so the radio and various stat tracking websites was the best offered to Avalanche fans to follow this contest.
The game was scoreless through the opening period but the Wild held the edge in shots. Minnesota goals bookended the second period and then they added a third for good measure early in the third period. But with just under three minutes to go the Avalanche gave their fans something to cheer about as they broke Kaapo Kahkonen’s shutout. As seen in the clip below Bowen Byram skated the puck all the way behind the net and then dished a great pass to Alex Newhook for the tap in. Shane Bowers picked up the secondary assist as well to make it an all-first round pick prospects’ goal.
Byram led the team in time on ice again for this game with just under 24 minutes and for the forwards JT Compher, Newhook and Bowers each played over 20 minutes in the contest. Without any visual evidence it is tough to determine any individual performances, especially defensively but Bednar was leaning on this trio of young players.
Although the Avalanche went 0/3 on their own power play they managed to kill off both of the Wild’s man advantages, which was a first for them this preseason. Netminder Darcy Kuemper got a lot of action and made 29 saves on 32 shots was another positive for the Avalanche.
Tonight the squad returns home and it remains to be seen how many, if any, players partake in the double header. It is expected a much heavier veteran lineup for the Avalanche, though, with likely Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Andre Burakovsky’s preseason debuts. The game will be broadcast by Altitude at 7pm MT for those who have access.
In other news the Avalanche made a small cut yesterday ahead of the game in Minnesota. This time they reassigned six players to the Colorado Eagles including Callahan Burke, Keaton Middleton, Nate Clurman, Jordan Gross, Tarun Fizer and Hunter Miska. There may be another cut before tonight game but a large group is expected to move on to Eagles camp in Loveland prior to preseason game five in Dallas on Thursday. As of now 41 players remain on the roster.
The 2021-22 season nearing kick-off also means that the 2022 Beijing Olympics are right around the corner as well. Each hockey federation is required to name three players to their preliminary roster and Sweden revealed that Gabe Landeskog has been named to their squad along with Mika Zibanejad and Victor Hedman. Exciting times for the Captain!