Dan Fritsche of the Sarnia Sting scored the game winning goal as Team Cherry skated to a 4-3 win over Team Orr in the 2003 Home Hardware Canadian Hockey League Top Prospects Game. Fritsche, who was selected as the Player of the Game for Team Cherry, knocked in a centering pass for Nathan Horton of the Oshawa Generals at 12:14 of the third period to cap off a third period rally by Team Cherry that saw Team Cherry scored three unanswered goals to post the win.
The eighth edition of the game that features forty of the CHL’s prospects for the 2003 National Hockey League Entry Draft was played in front of a crowd of 5,766 at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium on Wednesday night. The victory was the third in seven games for Coach Don Cherry as Bobby Orr holds a 4-3 edge in the seven games that the hockey greats have coached in the Home Hardware CHL Top Prospects series. The 2002 game that was played in Saskatoon, Dave “Tiger” Williams’ squad defeated Kelly Hrudey’s team by a score of 7-4.
Team Cherry opened the scoring at the 2:56 mark of the first period as Jeremy Colliton of the Prince Albert Raiders found the net. Team Orr took a 2-1 first period lead as the Brandon Wheat Kings’ Eric Fehr scored midway through the period and Jeff Carter of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds scored on the power play with 4:35 left in the opening period.
Paul Bissonnette of the Saginaw Spirit scored the only goal of the second period as his point shot eluded Marc-Andre Fleury in the Team Cherry net early in the second period to give Team Orr a 3-1 second period lead. Bissonnette was chosen as Team Orr’s Player of the Game.
The Team Cherry come back was started at 4:25 of the third period when the Windsor Spitfires’ Frank Rediker scored to narrow the Team Orr lead to 3-2. Petr Vrana of the Halifax Mooseheads tied the game at the 10:45 mark on a much discussed goal. Vrana scored unassisted while most eyes were focused on the beginning of a Bissonnette – Dion Phaneuf fight. Referee Dave Banfield ruled that play had not been whistled down and allowed the goal to stand.
Goaltender Kevin Nastiuk of Team Cherry became just the third goaltender in Home Hardware CHL Top Prospects history to play shutout goal. Nastiuk, who plays for the Medicine Hat Tigers, stopped all 16 shots that he faced after coming into replace Marc-Andre Fleury at the midway point of the game. Team Orr fired 45 shots at the Fleury-Nastiuk combination while Corey Crawford of the Moncton Wildcats and the Halifax Mooseheads’ Jonathan Boutin faced 35 shots from the Team Cherry shooters.
Rediker and the Kitchener Rangers’ Michael Richards won the CGC Sheetrock scorer award earning $1000 for the CHL’s Education Fund. Richards had two assists while Rediker scored once and assisted on Fritsche’s game winning goal.
Team Cherry 4 Team Orr 3
1. Team Cherry – Jeremy Colliton (1), Klein 2:25
2. Team Orr – Eric Fehr (1), Richards, Meyer 10:23
3. Team Orr – Jeff Carter (1) pp, Staal, OÕSullivan 15:25
Penalties: Cherry Rediker, Illegal Equipment 13:57
4. Team Orr – Paul Bissonnette (1), Picard, Richards 1:18
5. Team Cherry – Frank Rediker (1), Brown 4:25
6. Team Cherry – Petr Vrana (1), unassisted 10:45
7. Team Cherry – Dan Fritsche (1), Horton, Rediker 12:14
Penalties: Cherry Stewart, Boarding 10:21, Cherry Phaneuf, Orr Bissonnette, fighting 10:45, Cherry Perry, Slashing, 19:44
Shots on Goal
Team Orr 17/16(31)/12(45)
Team Cherry 13/13(26)/9(35)
Corey Crawford 16/18
Jonathan Boutin 14/17 Goaltender change made at 9:50 of Second Period
Marc-Andre Fleury 26/29
Kevin Nastiuk 16/16 Goaltender Change made at 9:50 of Second Period
Players of the Game
Team Orr – Paul Bissonnette
Team Cherry – Dan Fritsch
Referee: Dave Banfield
Linesmen: Todd Dawdy, Chris Hodgins