BUFFALO – Owen Beck made up for Juraj Slafkovsky’s absence in the Canadiens’ second game of the rookie tournament. The 18-year-old Ontarian was dominant in a 4-3 loss to New Jersey Devils prospects.
Fearsome shooter Alexander Holtz scored the two defining goals for the Devils.
He leveled the score with less than two minutes to go in the third period and ended the evening in the 17th.e second of overtime.
After conceding the first goal, William Trudeau, who had another strong game, and Filip Mesar responded to give the Habs the lead. The Devils tied the game in the second period and Beck put Montreal back in the lead in the final period with a great play.
Taking advantage of a turnover caused by Riley Kidney, he protected the puck brilliantly through opponents before firing a precise shot.
The day before, in another 4-3 loss against the Sabres, Beck had already announced his colors with very solid play. This time, he went even further by honing his actions. He impressed with his speed and shrewd attacking decisions.
For a good first impression, the 33e pick in the 2022 draft can already say mission accomplished in two outings this week in Buffalo. Especially since an imposing delegation from the Canadiens is present. From senior leaders, to scouts, coaches, advanced stats manager and development resources.
“I think so, I wanted to have an impact on the games during this tournament and I think I have achieved that. I lived up to my reputation by being good on the faceoffs and solid in all areas,” Beck agreed in a smug but humble tone.
Before the draft, his offensive arsenal had been criticized so much that he fell slightly in the projections.
“I try to add a bit of attack, an aspect that was questioned in my game last season. I think I did a good job on this side, ”he noted, addressing the subject himself.
Beck gave himself the air of a right-handed Philip Danault by winning several faceoffs while being able to contribute offensively. He also aimed in this direction when identifying inspirations.
“Canadian fans are familiar with Philip Danault and I’m also thinking of Bo Horvat or the ultimate cliché Patrice Bergeron. Danault is good through and through and has helped the team to success. I think I could contribute in this way,” said Beck who was encouraged by a delegation of a dozen people from his family.
“It’s a nice comparison for him, he won several faceoffs. He’s an intense player and he scored another goal. He also shows great speed, it’s impressive even in his lateral movements,” boasted coach Jean-François Houle, who finds him good at handling pressure at his age.
Harris is ready for the real camp
Besides Beck, defender Jordan Harris will also receive a great report. A true stabilizing presence for his team, and his partner Mattias Norlinder, he got involved in many ways.
During his ten games with the Canadiens last season, he proved that he could support the attack on certain occasions and he repeated this modus operandi.
“I really liked his game. I found him aggressive, he won several battles. He is very good in front of the net to crush opponents. He’s not the biggest, but he’s physically stronger than I thought,” Houle said.
It wouldn’t be surprising if he didn’t play the last game on Sunday.
Without Slafkovsky, the clash between the talented Slovak hopes had lost its flavor. All the same, Mesar made sure to shine by counting his team’s second goal. During a power play, he quickly slipped his shot between the opposing goalkeeper’s pads.
His friend, and Devils defender, Simon Nemec has shown great stability. Superb to see controlling the action, Nemec deployed beautiful feints and we already see him becoming a pillar of the Devils defensive brigade for many years.
More points in the bank for Trudeau
For the second game in a row, Trudeau stood out for his efficiency. In addition to his goal, he added a few checks to his repertoire at this rookie camp. The defender from Varennes still seems to be strategically positioned.
His only less successful moment came on Parent’s goal as he, Miguel Tourigny and Pierrick Dubé struggled to leave the defensive zone.
As for Emil Heineman, he played well while lacking finishing on a few interesting shots. Nevertheless, he was threatening by being an interesting complement for Beck.
True to form, Xavier Simoneau overflowed with intensity. He knocked on the door without hesitation, even if it meant being crushed by the defenders.
Special mention to Xavier Parent who stood out among the Devils’ prospects. Holder of a first contract in the American League, Parent had also earned points during the development camp.
Parent counted against Riley Mercer, a goaltender invited by the Canadiens, who had the privilege of facing the team of his big brother, Dawson, who shone in his rookie season.