Red Wings advance to Traverse City championship
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Zach Nastasiuk, a 2013 second-round pick (No. 48), had a goal and one assist and goalie Jake Paterson, a 2012 third-round choice (No. 80), made 22 saves to lead the Red Wings to a 4-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues on the final day of round-robin action on Sunday in the Traverse City prospects tournament.
The Red Wings (3-0-0) will now face the defending tournament champion Buffalo Sabres (3-0-0) in the tournament final on Monday here at Center ICE Arena (7:30 p.m. EDT). The host Red Wings have never celebrated a tournament title.
"Any time you get a chance to compete in a tournament, you want to win and I was told we had never won this and passed that on to our guys and they took some pride in that," Detroit's prospect coach Jeff Blashill said. "What you're doing is your comparing yourself against seven other teams' best prospects, both individually and collective, so everyone wants guys not only talented but who are winners. So our guys have done a good job of showing that so far."
The Sabres defeated the Carolina Hurricanes, 7-4, to finish unbeaten in their bracket and set up the championship-round showdown. Defenseman Xavier Ouellett (2011, No. 48) and Nastasiuk connected in the first to give Detroit a 2-0 lead.
Sebastian Wannstrom (2010, No. 44) had pulled the Blues (1-2-0) within 2-1 midway through the third before Tomas Jurco (2011, No. 35) scored his first of the tournament on the power-play at the 14:02 mark. Anthony Mantha (2013, No. 20) closed out the scoring with an empty-net goal with 1:11 remaining in regulation.
"The scouting staff has done a great job, and we have lots of talented hockey players," Blashill said. "We have a real good mix of skill, and strength on the puck, and enough physicality. I think we've done a good job of attacking as a five-man unit offensively and, defensively, we've stayed real tight. The guys have very quickly grasped those concepts."