TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. • The Blues rallied from a 3-0 second-period deficit to force overtime, but Chicago’s Dylan Sikura scored with 1 minute 50 seconds left in the extra session to give the Blackhawks a 4-3 victory in the NHL prospects tournament.
The Blues, who went 3-1 here last year, fell to 0-2-1 in this year’s event and will play in the seventh-place game against the New York Rangers on Tuesday at 2 p.m. St. Louis time.
The Blues’ top two prospects, Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou, scored third-period goals to tie the game at 3-3. It was the second goal of the tournament for both players. Thomas scored during a 5-on-3 Blue power play at the 4:40 mark of the third. Kyrou then scored at 11:58 to tie the game.
After a day off for all teams Sunday, this game was fast and physical from the outset. Chicago, the defending tournament champion, jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first period, outshooting the Blues 15-4 in the process.
When Jason Willms scored just 3 minutes 15 seconds into the second period, it was 3-0 Chicago, with all three Blackhawks goals coming on scrums in front of the net.
The Blues finally got on the scoreboard at 6:19 of the second period on a power play goal by Bobby MacIntyre on a wrist shot from the edge of the right faceoff circle. Defenseman Jake Walman got an assist, playing a game of pitch and catch with MacIntyre, a free-agent invite to this tournament from Jacksonville of the ECHL.
Blues goalie Evan Fitzpatrick, making his second start in three tournament games, was under siege for most of the first two periods, when St. Louis was outshot 29-11 by Chicago. He robbed the Blackhawks of would-be goals on several other occasions.
Blues forward Erik Foley was shaken up in Saturday’s 5-3 loss to Columbus and was an injury scratch Monday night against Chicago. Additionally, he did not participate in the team’s morning skate at Centre Ice Arena.
General manager Doug Armstrong said it’s an upper-body injury and doesn’t appear serious, but added that Foley would be checked out by the team’s medical staff when the prospects return to St. Louis.
Acquired as part of the Paul Stastny deal with Winnipeg at the trade deadline last season, Foley scored the prospects’ first goal in Columbus game.
Additionally, forward Tanner Kaspick was scratched with an upper-body injury that isn’t thought to be serious. “If this were a Game 7, he could probably play in it, but it’s a Game 3 of preseason,” Armstrong said.
Both players have NHL potential and are slated for duty in San Antonio this season, the Blues’ American Hockey League affiliate.
The Blues placed their top three prospects on their top line Monday, going with Klim Kostin on left wing, Thomas at center and Kyrou at right wing against the Blackhawks.
Earlier in the tournament, prospects coach Drew Bannister had placed Nolan Stevens, who signed with the Blues last season following his college campaign at Northeastern, with Thomas and Kyrou.
On Monday, Stevens opened on a line with Adam Musil, a fourth-round pick in 2015, and Austin Poganski (fourth round, 2014).
Thomas also did some double-shifting early on a line with Alexey Toropchenko and 2018 first-round draft pick Dominik Bokk.
Stevens, a fifth-round pick in 2016, wore the Blues’ captain’s “C.” Thomas and defensive Niko Mikkola wore “A” as alternate captains.
All eyes on you
If it wasn’t stressful enough playing against some of the top young talent in the world, every scout and member of the Blues’ front office — plus scouts and front office personnel from the other seven participating teams — are in attendance at the prospects tournament here.
“It’s pretty nerve-wracking,” Kyrou said.
“That’s something you think about a little bit,” Thomas said. “I’m not going to lie. It’s a little intimidating when you look behind the net and you see the whole St. Louis brass.”
Plus the scouts from all the other participating teams.
“You definitely see all those guys,” Thomas said. “But it’s something you can’t really focus on. The tournament’s set up nice where you can sort of have fun with the guys on your team and compete hard.”