Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Traverse City: Thrashers advance to gold-medal game

Jeff Pyle says we are in for a real treat tomorrow night when the Thrashers big win over the Red Wings is shown on tape delay. The game was high-energy all night, culminating in a shootout, with the Thrashers winning 3-2. How high-tempo? Riley Holzapfel and Spencer Machacek said it was higher tempo than WHL games. That's impressive for a preseason tournament. It was a good crowd, and they were into it as well.

Maybe we should have predicted the outcome. Thrashers Don Waddell pointed out, at least to the coaches, that Detroit (his former team) has never beaten Atlanta at this prospect camp, a camp the Red Wings have hosted for about 10 years.

Detroit's skill level was on display in tonight's game. But Atlanta's skill players found a way to outscore them, with Riley Holzapfel and Spencer Machacek scoring in regulation, and Matt Lyall scoring in the shootout. Holzapfel's goal was dumped in and took a funny bounce on its way into the net. It energized the team. Machacek scored on a power play, but it was an individual effort. Goaltender Chris Carrozzi played well, and will likely stay in net for the gold-medal game.

The Red Wings had 8 power plays to Atlanta's 3. All of this penalty killing tired out the team a bit. Almost the whole roster got turns on the penalty kill, but players with a lot of time included Machacek, Esposito, Bancks, Bogosian (who returned from a one-game hiatus), Kulda and Postma. Though there were a lot of penalties, Pyle didn't think the game was particularly chippy -- the penalties were just being overcalled. The two fights, one by Stoesz and one by Danick Paquette, were not big battles and were about even.

The night was not without bad news. Second-year pro forward Tomas Pospisil suffered a concussion early in the game. Pyle did not see the play it happened on, but thinks it was a cross-check to the head. Defenseman Grant Lewis, who played on a broken toe on Sunday, sat this one out.

Some may be wondering about this Lyall fellow who scored the game winner in the shootout. Word is that he's going back to junior this year, but keep an eye on him for the spring and into next year at least with the affiliates.

Off day report: Pyle was part of a golf threesome with Hoops (his equipment manager in Gwinnett who is working for the Thrashers for the tournament) and Thrashers head scout Marcel Comeau. Hoops won. How did Pyle do? "I sucked, man."

Tomorrow's championship game against Dallas is at 6:30 pm. It will air the next night. Tomorrow you can watch the Detroit game described above at 10pm.

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