UNIONDALE, N.Y. - Michael Pereira, Andrew Calof and Mike Halmo scored goals for the Orange Team in regulation, while John Persson, Halmo and Islanders first-round draft pick Griffin Reinhart scored in the shootout as Orange Team shut out the Blue Team 6-0 in this year’s Orange & Blue Prospect Game at Iceworks on Thursday night.
The game consisted of two 25-minute halves, and Orange Team goaltenders Ken Reiter and Kevin Boyle split time to earn the shutout for their squad. While Islanders fans may have been unfamiliar with Reiter, who earned the start for the Orange Team, Sound Tigers fans got a glimpse of Reiter last season after he signed an amateur tryout contract with the team after completing his collegiate career at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.
“It felt real good,” said Reiter, who attended this year’s Islanders Prospect Camp as a camp invite. “Feels great to be here and just play well. Anything I can do to impress the staff here on Long Island is great.”
Pereira got the Orange Team on the scoreboard midway through the first period. Persson fed the West Haven, CT native as he broke through the Blue Team defense and went in on a breakaway. Pereira finished on a backhand through Trumbull, CT native Alex Vazzano to give the Orange Team a 1-0 lead. Vazzano was tested often in the period, but held his ground to keep the Blue Team deficit to one goal.
Calof doubled the Orange Team lead to two when he fired from the slot past Mitch Gillam at 7:37 of the second frame. The Blue Team had an opportunity to cut their deficit in half late in the game. Johnny McGuire drew a penalty in the neutral zone. All penalties in tonight’s game led to a penalty shot, and Ryan Strome had the opportunity to cut the deficit to one after the penalty was called. However, Boyle closed his five-hole and denied Strome on the penalty shot attempt.
The Blue Team pulled their goaltender with just over two minutes left in the game, and Nino Niederreiter made a nice feed to Halmo in front who scored on the empty net for the last regulation goal.
Persson did his best Frans Nielsen impression in front of the Islanders faithful, faking his forehand before roofing the puck on his backhand in the third round of the shootout.
“I just waited for the goalie to make his move…he came a little further out, so I deked and went over him,” Persson explained. “It felt great to be back out on the ice again.”
Halmo nearly repeated Persson’s move, faking his forehand before sliding the puck between Gillam’s pad and the right post. The game had a physical edge from the start, something that played into Halmo’s hands.
“It was great to see some physical play early on,” Halmo said. “That’s my style of game so I was able to relax and felt comfortable out there. I had some great linemates with Nino (Niederreiter) and Casey (Cizikas), we had some good scoring chances and I thought it was a good night.”
The physical play also played into Blair Riley’s game. The usual fourth-line forward got the chance to play alongside Ryan Strome and Kirill Kabanov and showed some of his skill in addition to his physicality.
“I’m not used to that…I’m usually on the fourth line grinding,” Riley joked. “We were down a right wing in the second half, so I got to play a lot. The ice was slow so we got to do some chip and chase and bang around. Those are some skilled young guys, got to play with Nelson a bit too. It was a lot of fun.”