Will Smith puts on a show at BioSteel, scoring twice in game showcasing top junior talent
Will Smith received Player of the Game honors. Minnesota commit Oliver Moore also scores in game
PLYMOUTH, Mich. — Thanks to a trio of second-period goals, Team Blue skated to a 6-3 win Monday afternoon in the BioSteel All-American Game, a showcase of the top junior talent in the country.
“I thought it was a great game and I thought both teams played really well,” said Team Blue head coach Mike Garman of the Chicago Steel. “You saw some nerves at first and guys were getting used to new linemates and a new system. But it was great to see how fast guys settled in and how they were able to play their games.”
Will Smith stole the show with two goals and received Player of the Game honors. He also added an assist. However, it was Team White who got on the board first.
Oliver Moore opened the scoring 4:55 in, drawing praise from several of the scouts inside USA Hockey Arena.
Moore — a likely first-round NHL pick next summer — fired a shot past USNTDP goaltender Trey Augustine and into the top corner. The Minnesota commit was centering Team White’s top line and entered the day with 20 goals and 45 points in 33 games this season.
“I think my game is trending in the right direction and I think my hockey IQ and sense for the game is continuing to get better,” Moore said. “I like where my game is at right now and today was a fun game to play in.”
“He’s such a talented player,” added Team White head coach Nick Oliver of the Fargo Force. “He’s got an extra gear and it’s noticeable when you’re standing on the bench watching. He’s on the puck a lot too and he’s a super competitive player. So it was fun to watch him play.”
Fowler stopped 12 of the 13 shots he saw on the day and looked sharp in his 30 minutes of action. Fowler is considered by many one of the top goalie prospects in next summer’s draft.
As for Harris, the California native was the first of three Stampede players to score in Monday’s contest — all three in blue sweaters.
“It was great to see all of our guys score and I’m happy for Will and Sharpy,” said Harris, who left the game with a shoulder injury. “I’m super happy we got to share this together and I’m proud of them too.”
Smith, another likely first-round pick next summer, gave Team Blue a 2-1 lead 11:28 into the second period.
Tri-City defenseman Seth Constance made a play just inside the blue line to keep the play alive and Smith fired home his first of two goals on the day from the bottom of the far circle.
“It’s special and it’s an honor,” Smith said of the Player of the Game honors. “But my focus is on the second half of the season now.”
Sioux Falls forward Will McDonough made it 3-1 at the 14:22 mark and Sioux Falls defenseman Zack Sharp gave Team Blue a 4-1 lead with 42 seconds left in the second period. Team Blue won the second-period shot battle, 12-6.
With some early momentum and down by two, Team White looked to make a push. However, Smith was awarded a penalty shot as he was slashed on a breakaway.
The Boston College commit made the most of his chance, firing the puck glove-side past Waterloo goaltender Jack Spicer . Smith’s goal made it 5-2 with 15:59 left.
“He’s a very talented player and a very smart player,” Garman said. “There’s just such an underlying competitiveness to his game and it’s no surprise he’s had so much success. It’ll be fun to watch him going forward.”
Nick Vantassell answered for Team White, pushing a loose puck past Michael Chambre . Vantassell’s goal came 8:48 into the final frame and made it a two-goal game. Team White also fired 20 shots on net in the third period.
However, Team Blue’s Ryan Leonard sealed the deal with an empty-netter in the final minute and secured the 6-3 win.
“Today was a blast,” Garman said. “They did a great job with the whole event and it was top-notch with every little detail. I think all of the players were treated great, as a staff we were treated great and at the end of the day this event is about showcasing the top American-born draft-eligible players. I thought we did that.”
The USHL will return to action Thursday night as Youngstown hosts Muskegon.
Team Blue 1-3-2—6
Team White 1-0-2—3
FIRST PERIOD: 1, White, Oliver Moore (Joe Palodichuk), 5:05. 1, Blue, Sam Harris, 13:56. Penalties: none
SECOND PERIOD: 2, Blue, Will Smith, 11:28. 3, Blue, Will McDonough (Alex Weiermaier), 14:22. 4, Blue, Zach Sharp (Eric Pohlkamp), 19:18 (en). Penalties: Blue, Alex Weiermair, tripping, 4:44. White, Tanner Adams, hooking, 17:20. Blue, Brandon Svoboda, non disclosed minor, 18:34.
THIRD PERIOD: 2, White, Zeev Buium (Nick Vantassell), 1:33. 5, Blue, Smith, 4:01 (ps). 3, White, Vantassell (Buium, Palodichuk), 8:48 (pp). 6, Blue, Ryan Leonard (Will Smith), 19:13 (en). Penalties: Blue, Salvatore Guzzo, tripping, 6:50. White, Drew Fortescue, kneeing, 11:45. Blue, Will McDonough, cross checking, 14:50. White, penalty shot, 4:01.
GOALTENDERS: White: Carsen Musser 7 saves; Trey Augustine 1 ga, 5 saves; Michael Chambre 2 ga, 18 saves. Blue: Jacob Fowler 1 ga, 12 saves; Jack Spicer, 3 ga, 11 saves.
SHOTS ON GOAL: Blue 9-12-8—29, White 7-6-20—33. POWER PLAY: Blue 0 for 2, White 1 for 3. A—1,315.