The Philadelphia Flyers’ rookie team played against the New York Islanders rookies Wednesday night, and in typical Flyers fashion, they gave up a 3-1 lead and ended up losing in overtime, 4-3.
Tickets were given away for the event which was the first rookie game held at the Wells Fargo Center since 2011, and the crowd did not disappoint. It seemed like a regular season game.
The highly touted Flyers’ defensive prospects lived up to their reputation in this game, including scoring all three goals for the Flyers. James De Haas, Travis Sanheim and Mark Friedman all tallied a goal each for the good guys. It was excellent to see some puck movement on the back end from the young rookies.
There were a few great takeaways from this game, but there was also obvious rust and lack of communication from some of the players. Sanheim and Philippe Myers were in a defensive pairing, but had a miscommunication leading directly to the Islanders’ first goal.
Overall, Sanheim had a great game. He scored the Flyers’ second goal with a great pinch into the offensive zone and had the sense to bank it off an Islanders player in front for the goal. Sanheim also took a few penalties, but also drew an additional penalty during a scrum which led to a Flyers power play. Sanheim looked like the best defenseman on the ice.
Sam Morin was a force to be reckoned with during this game. He gave up no space and his skating clearly improved since the last season. He had some jump in his step and was still as mean as ever taking a roughing penalty and keeping the Islanders rookies in check any time they would attempt to stir something up. I would expect Morin to make the team this year after that showing.
Alex Lyon started the game between the pipes, only letting one shot past him. He looked very sound, but maybe that was to be expected, because he is 24 years old. I’d assume he was the oldest player on the ice. But the 19-year-old Carter Hart stole the show after coming in at the midway point of the game. While Hart did give up three goals, the final of which was the overtime winner for the Islanders, he played a phenomenal game in net. He saved 19 of 22 shots behind a gassed Flyers squad. Hart will play in juniors this year but expect him to be a staple in net for the Phantoms next year.
And the player that everyone wants to hear about … Nolan Patrick. While Patrick did not put any points up on the score sheet, he was clearly the most complete player on the ice. Remember, the guy is only 18 years old. Patrick was tasked with playing on both the power play and penalty kill, also. His work in the faceoff circle was not strong, however, he was never out of position and played an extremely smart game. Indeed, Patrick showed his superior hockey IQ last night. He did have a chance to win the game in overtime, but clanged one off the pipe, which eventually led to the Islanders game-winning goal.
As an aside, Myers was taken out of the game with a lower-body injury. It sounds like it was just precautionary, and he should be back on the ice for the start of training camp.
The biggest takeaways from this game?
• Some of these kids are ready to play.
• Nolan Patrick was the most dominant player on the ice, despite not scoring any points.
• Sam Morin looks like a towering defenseman with speed who will make an impact on the Flyers this year.
• The Flyers’ prospect pool, who many say is the best in the league right now, is developing nicely.
• The most important takeaway is that hockey, and more importantly the Flyers, are back.
Some game action: