Team St. Louis wins 2011 tournament in thrilling fashion over Team Yzerman
The championship game at the 2023 Future Legends Invitational was a matchup of best on best. Team Yzerman was the top team coming out of the Campbell Division with a 3-1-1 record. Their counterpart from the Wales Division, Team St. Louis, was 4-1-0. When the two 2011-born squads collided in Sunday’s championship game, it was full of drama. Ultimately, Easton Scott was the one with late-game heroics for Team St. Louis, winning the championship 6-5 in overtime.
Team 2011 St. Louis taking the ship at HHOF Future Legends yesterday! Congrats 🏆🎉 pic.twitter.com/wLBVOqLCbc— PLAY Hockey (@playhockeyna) May 1, 2023
After eight minutes of sudden-death action, forward Jack Cross corralled the puck behind Team Yzerman’s net. He sent a centering pass into the slot to Brody Grant, who quickly fired a wrist shot on net. Owen Ryan made the initial save for Team Yzerman, but Scott lingering on the near post was able to chip in the rebound to win the game for Team St. Louis.
It was Scott’s seventh goal of the Future Legends Invitational. He finished second behind teammate and New Jersey Colonials forward Jack Cross, who led the tournament with 11 goals. The duo accounted for 18 of Team St. Louis’ 35 goals over the weekend.
Competition on another level at Future Legends
In 33 games between 2011 born teams at the Future Legends Invitational, 16 of them were decided by two goals or fewer. Team St. Louis played in five of those games, victorious in four including the championship thriller.
The 192 individual participants were evenly divided into 12 teams for the weekend. Similarly, 160 players from the 2012 birth year were separated onto 10 competitive teams. The ‘12 age group played 28 games total, of which half were decided by two goals or fewer.
No team’s total goal differential exceeded plus-11, meaning that the highest average margin of victory by any team was just 1.57 goals.
Kale Nicol led all 2012s in scoring with 21 points, but eight other skaters finished the tournament averaging more than a point per game as well. Nicol picked up multiple points in every game he played in, including two outings with a hat trick. He also scored a goal and an assist in Team Howe’s championship loss to Team Lemieux.
Even as champion, Team Lemieux suffered an 8-3 loss at the hands of Team Lidstrom. The two teams would meet again in the semifinals, with Lemieux victorious in overtime after Samuel Douglas’ fourth goal of the tournament.
Nicol dominates 2012 Future Legends tournament
The leading scorer by a wide margin, Kale Nicol scored 14 goals — five more than any other skater — and 21 points. He opened the Future Legends Invitational with a three-point performance, including the game-tying goal to force a shootout. Nicol was also crucial in Team Howe’s playoff games, scoring four points in a 6-5 win over Team Yzerman. That advanced his team to the semifinals, where Nicol mounted another four-point game to push Team Howe past Team St. Louis, 7-4.
The championship was all Ryan Graves, though. The Mid-Fairfield Jr. Rangers forward put together his best performance of the tournament in the final game. He scored the opening goal 4:35 into the first period. Graves followed that up three more goals and an assist, as he tied the game early in the third, and gave Team Lemieux the 6-5 lead late in the period as well.
Graves finished third in the tournament in scoring with 15 points, topped only by Nicol and his Future Legends teammate Austin Jarvi who had 18.
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