TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — The Blackhawks kicked off the 2019 Traverse City Prospect Tournament with a 5-4 overtime win over the Detroit Red Wings, but it didn't come without drama. And lots of action.
After jumping out to a 4-1 lead in the first period, the Blackhawks allowed three unanswered goals in the second frame but hung on to force overtime, where Adam Boqvist scored the game-winning goal just 43 seconds into it.
Here are three takeaways and some observations from the victory:
1. Adam Boqvist salvages quiet first game with game-winning goal
At Blackhawks development camp in July, Boqvist was easily one of the most noticeable prospects. But that was to be expected. Traverse City is a much better way to evaluate where these guys are at in their progression.
It was a quiet first game for the 2018 eighth overall pick, but he erased it all when he scored a slick 3-on-3 overtime goal short side to give the Blackhawks a tournament-opening win against the host team.
"I want to play better and help the team so we don't have to go to overtime," Boqvist said. "I don't think the puck [wanted] to be on my stick today. I don't know. First game. Tomorrow I'll be better I hope."
2. Kirby Dach using tournament as springboard into training camp
As expected, Dach was one of the best players on the ice. Good things happen when he's out there. He scored a goal, added an assist, finished with a +2 rating and recorded three shots on goal.
Dach, although focused on this tournament, certainly wants to make a strong first impression as he prepares to battle for an everyday roster spot on the Blackhawks when training camp starts next Friday.
"Yeah, I think it's a good way for me to kind of get my feet wet and running before I hit the ground in training camp," Dach said. "It's a good tournament, lots of high-paced competition. It's a lot of fun to be here."
3. Alexis Gravel's strong outing and game-saver
The box score shows that Gravel allowed four goals on 33 shots for a save percentage of .879, but he was way better than what the numbers on the surface indicated. The Red Wings came out flying in the opening minutes, and scored three of their four goals on the power play. The Blackhawks didn't make it any easier on him in the second period when the Red Wings outshot the visiting team 17-5.
"The second period we collapsed on him, we didn't let him see the puck much and they were getting some power-play goals," coach Derek King said. "Nothing you can really do about that. ... You tell him after the second, hold the fort for the crew and he listened, he did. He held it in for us and made it a good hockey game and we were fortunate enough to come out on top."
Perhaps the highlight of the night came when Gravel robbed Red Wings prospect Filip Zadina, who was taken No. 6 overall in 2018, of a goal in a 4-4 tie in the final minute of the game:
— Free-agent invite Riley McKay played right wing on the first line centered by his Saskatoon Blades teammate Dach and former WHL forward Brandon Hagel. McKay registered a secondary assist on Dach's goal, blocked a shot off the inside of his foot while trying to kill a penalty that got his teammates fired up, then later on forced a neutral zone turnover and nearly scored on a breakaway. He was noticeable.
— Chad Krys committed two penalties (tripping and roughing), and the Red Wings scored on the first one just 3:10 into the game. His roughing penalty stemmed from a big hit he laid on Zadina. Krys did, however, finish with a +3 rating, which was tied with Mikael Hakkarainen for the game-best.