Petro steals the show

Alexander Petrovic made the most of his opportunity at the NHL-CHL Top Prospects game, showing he can play the tough guy just as well as the playmaker.

Team Cherry’s Alexander Petrovic

Team Cherry’s Alexander Petrovic

Cherry 4 Orr 2

WINDSOR, Ont. — Alexander Petrovic made the most of his opportunity at the NHL-CHL Top Prospects game, showing he can play the tough guy just as well as the playmaker.

Ryan Spooner scored a short-handed goal with just over eight minutes remaining while Petrovic had two assists and a fight as Team Cherry defeated Team Orr 4-2 in the NHL-CHL Top Prospects game Wednesday.

“It felt good out there, there’s was a great flow to the game,” said Petrovic, a six-foot-four defenceman with the Western hockey League’s Red Deer Rebels. “It was a very tense dressing room before the game and you could tell that the boys were ready and wanted to put on a good show of themselves.”

The rugged defenceman from Edmonton had a simple game plan heading into the game.

“I just wanted to play a solid physical game,” Petrovic said, “and ending up with two assists on the night is a bonus too.”

It took a special goal to decide an uncharacteristically low-scoring all-star game. Peterborogh Petes forward Spooner provided it when he converted a pass from Winnipeg Spitfires star Taylor Hall on an odd man rush that started with a breakout pass in the defensive zone from Brandon Archibald.

Emerson Etem of the Medicine Hat Tigers, Jordan Weal of the Regina Pats and Louis-Marc Aubery of the Montreal Junior, into an empty net, had Team Cherry’s other goals.

Nino Niederreiter of the Portland Winterhawks and Jeff Skinner of the Kitchener Rangers replied for Team Orr.

The goaltending on display Wednesday was strong. Niagara IceDogs goalie Mark Visentin stopped all 19 shots he faced while Louis Domingue of the Quebec Remparts made eight saves on 12 shots for Team Orr.

Calvin Pickard of the Seattle Thunderbirds made 13 saves on 14 shots while Maxime Clermont of the Gatineau Olympiques stopped 16 of 17 shots for Team Cherry.

The game included two fights — a Top Prospects rarity.

Petrovic squared off with six-foot-five Dylan McIlrath, a defenceman with the Moose Jaw Warriors with 3.7 seconds left in the second period.

In the third period, Team Cherry’s Andrew Yogan, a 6-3 forward, went at it with Team Orr’s Matt Mackenzie.

“Everyone knows what is at stake, and the boys wanted to make a good impression on all the general managers and scouts who were here tonight,” Petrovic said. “No one was going to back down or give an inch.”

The game featured the top 40 draft eligible players from the Canadian Hockey League, including 18 from the Ontario Hockey League, 13 from the Western Hockey League and nine from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

The WHL’s Portland Winterhawks had the most players competing in the contest. Defenceman Troy Rutkowski and forwards Brad Ross and Ryan Johansen competed for Team Cherry while forward Niederreiter competed for Team Orr.

Cherry’s victory cut Orr’s lead in their head-to-head coaching series to 7-4. Cherry’s previous win came in 2003 and the Hockey Night in Canada broadcaster was happy to inch closer to evening up the series score with Hall of Fame defenceman Orr.

“I thought the kids gave a solid effort for 60 minutes tonight and it was great to see the intensity out there,” Cherry said. “I’ve got to find a way to keep beating Bobby in these games.”