The Pittsburgh Penguins prospects may not have come out on top in their last game at the 2016 Rookie Tournament in London, Ont., but they sure did whip up some riveting action.
The Penguins and Toronto Maple Leafs thrilled the crowd at Budweiser Gardens attending the tournament finale with a offensive showcase that ended with a 6-5 overtime victory for the Maple Leafs.
The Penguins opened the scoring when Milos Bubela flew down the left wing side and fired a puck short side past Leafs goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo at 4:41 of the first period.
Michael Webster found the back of the net with a slap shot, putting Pittsburgh up 2-0 at 9:48 of the first.
The second period began in a scoring frenzy with both teams combining for three goals in the first 3:03 of the middle frame. Teddy Blueger scored on the power play for the Penguins to make it 3-0, only to see Mason Marchment and Jeremy Bracco responding quickly and cutting Pittsburgh’s lead to 3-2. Bracco’s goal came on the power play.
Toronto tied the game, 3-3, with another man advantage marker, this time coming from Nikita Korostelev at 8:47. A penalty kill clearing attempt by the Penguins inadvertently banked off the net to the side of DeSmith and right out into the slot where Korostelev was perched.
Toronto took its first lead of the contest when Andrew Nielsen found the top corner on a two-man advantage power play at 11:57 of the third period. Twenty seconds after that, Korostelev buried another power play goal for a 5-3 Maple Leafs lead.
C.J. Yakimowicz put the Penguins right back into it, scoring at 15:43 of the final period of regulation, making it just a one-goal deficit for Pittsburgh.
Working on a power play late in the contest, Dominik Simon sniped the top corner and tied the score, 5-5, with just 1:53 remaining in the third.
Simon’s goal forced overtime, during which both teams exchanged glorious scoring opportunities with the open ice on three-on-three hockey. Jake Guentzel hit the post on a breakaway for his third iron strike of the game. Shortly thereafter, Jeremy Bracco ended it on a break of his own, sliding the puck underneath Casey DeSmith at 2:29 of OT.
The 6-5 win gave made Toronto undefeated 2016 Rookie Tournament champions. All three of Toronto’s victories en route to the title were decided by one goal.
The Penguins begin the trek back to Pittsburgh tomorrow, where many players will quickly begin preparations for the club’s main training camp at the UPMX Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry, Pa.