SPORTS

Travis Konecny of OHL's Ottawa 67's shines at CHL top prospects game

01/22/2015 09:56 EST | Updated 03/24/2015 05:59 EDT
ST. CATHARINES, Ont. - Connor McDavid won dinner from Erie Otters teammate Dylan Strome, Bobby Orr won $100 from Don Cherry and Travis Konecny may have earned some better draft considerations from his impressive showing at the CHL top prospects game.

Konecny scored two goals and forced the turnover that led to another. Konecny of the Ontario Hockey League's Ottawa 67's skated with Connor McDavid and Timo Meier, and that line was a huge reason why Team Orr beat Team Cherry 6-0 at Meridian Centre on Thursday night.

"It's definitely not hard playing with those two guys," Konecny said. "They make it easy for everyone around them, and you've just got to wait and when the puck hits your stick you just put it on the net."

Ranked 26th among North American skaters on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list, Konecny was the best in off-ice testing Wednesday and then stood out again in the game playing with and against his peers. He said he wasn't out to prove anything.

"I think every player in their draft year wants to prove to everyone that they can be the best they can be," the London, Ont., native said. "I try not to look at the rankings and I'm just going to do what I can do get a team to like me and just hope I can get as high as I can."

Konecny scored on a semi-breakaway, beating Owen Sound goaltender Michael McNiven high glove side and then on a give-and-go with Meier. He had the big hit that helped get McDavid the puck on Meier's goal, the second of the night for Team Orr.

Defenceman Ryan Pilon and forwards Nathan Noel and Paul Bittner scored for the team coached by Boston Bruins legend Bobby Orr. Goaltenders Nick McBride of the Western Hockey League's Prince Albert Raiders and Liam Herbst of the 67's combined for the shutout.

Strome had a strong game for Team Cherry and was that side's player of the game. McDavid won the side bet of dinner, and most importantly to Strome, the game.

"I'd much rather win the game and not get that award," Strome said. "I'd much rather be hoisting that trophy right now than getting whatever prize I got."

Samuel Montembeault of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's Blainville-Boisbriand Armada stopped 15-of-17 shots he faced, and McNiven made eight saves.

McDavid showed off flashes of the speed and skill that will make him the top pick in June's NHL draft. He finished with one assist.

"It went all right," McDavid said. "Obviously the team did very well and it's nice to get the win. Personally I thought it was all right. I had a couple chances that I wish I could've buried, but it really doesn't matter."

Konecny said the little things McDavid did to open up ice for him and Meier shouldn't go unnoticed. One thing Cherry noticed was McDavid taking his foot off the gas when the game was a blowout.

"I saw where he could've taken some shots — showing mercy to us," Cherry said. "I really believe when he got up 4-0 that he let up. I'm not saying he's Bobby Orr, but Bobby used to do the same thing. When we'd be up 5-1 or something like that, you could see him back off. McDavid looked pretty good."

With NHL arenas dark for the first night of the all-star break, the CHL top prospects game took centre stage in the hockey world. Over 200 scouts from all 30 NHL teams were in attendance to see 40 of the best draft-eligible prospects playing major junior hockey.

"There's people watching every game, so you just got to block it out as much as you can," Strome said. "Obviously there was a big pile of people in the corner there, but other than that I just tried to focus on the game."

Prime Minister Stephen Harper was also in the building. Harper spoke to players before the game and tweeted that he got an autographed jersey from McDavid, who signed it on Orr's back.

It was McDavid's first time meeting Harper, and he said it was "awesome" to be able to sign a jersey for the Prime Minister.

Notes — There was a moment of silence before the game to honour the memory of RCMP Constable David Wynn. ... Former Niagara IceDogs star and current New York Islanders forward Ryan Strome was part of the pregame ceremonies along with members of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo's regiment.

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