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STINGY ROOKIES

Flyers rookies blank Caps rookies 1-0 in annual preseason game

Monday, 09.9.2013 / 8:14 PM ET / News
By Anthony SanFilippo  - Philadelphia Flyers Inside Reporter
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STINGY ROOKIES

ARLINGTON, Va. – Samuel Morin said he felt nervous when he stepped onto the ice for warmups at the Kettler Ice Plaza.

If that’s the case, then the Flyers should try to make him nervous before every game he plays.

Yes, it was only an exhibition game, and yes it was only against other potential prospects and not those of a NHL caliber, but Samuel Morin gave those watching in person a glimpse as to why the Flyers are so excited about him as a defenseman.

Morin was physical, he made good decisions with the puck, he disrupted chances for the Capitals with his reach. He made a diving poke check from the rear to stop a breakaway. He made smart choices with his breakout passes.

In short, he stood out, and when you are playing in a rookie game, won by the Flyers 1-0 by the way, that’s all you can hope for – is that you are stand out.

“I thought he was real noticeable out there,” said Flyers coach Peter Laviolette, who along with assistants Craig Berube and Kevin McCarthy coached the rookie game. “He always has his head up. He’s got a good stick. He closes time and space on puck carriers – it was a good game for him. He was probably our most consistent player from start to finish.”

That he was.

Morin played the first half of the game as a defensive tandem with Mark Alt, and the second half of the game with Maxim Lamarche after Alt had to leave the game with a concussion.

On his first shift he was knocking players off the puck with his physical play – and it only blossomed from there.

Winning puck battles, stripping on-rushing puck carriers – and that play chasing down the breakaway from behind – it all seemed to be beyond his 18 years. It all seemed so effortless and yet if you ask Morin he’ll just smile before he politely disagrees.

“I think I made some mistakes,” he said. “There were definitely some rookie mistakes that I still have to learn how to fix. But, I worked hard, played my game, got a couple of good shots…. I was happy.”

Not as happy as the guys wearing the suits watching from the balcony above.

The next test for Morin will come next week – probably Monday night against some of the same Capitals players, but also against some NHLers as the Flyers play their preseason home opener at the Wells Fargo Center against the Caps.

They’ll probably be without Alt though, who suffered the concussion in the second period. Alt beat top Washington prospect Tom Wilson to a puck near the corner and rimmed it around to a teammate. Wilson shoved Alt in the shoulder as he was making this play and the Flyers defenseman lost his balance and fell awkwardly into the boards, hitting the back of his head in the process.

He was down on the ice for about a minute before being helped off the ice by a team trainer. Alt didn’t return.

It’s a shame too because Alt was playing a very strong game to that point. As a matter of fact, with the pairing of Alt and Morin on the ice together, the Caps really struggled to generate much in the way of scoring chances.

Overall the defense was strong, but when there was a breakdown, a mistake or a mental lapse, the goaltending was there to fill the void.

Top goaltending prospect Anthony Stolarz play the first period-and-a-half and Carsen Chubak completed the shutout. No official shot totals were tallied, but combined, the duo probably turned aside about 25 shots.

“As a goalie sitting there you’re watching the forwards and the defense fighting hard to make it easier on us,” Stolarz said. “So when there is a breakdown or a bad break, Chewy (Chubak) and I wanted to come up big and make the big save as if to say we had the team’s back because they had ours the whole game.”

The lone goal was scored in the second period by Taylor Leier. With the ink barely dry on his entry level contract, Leier was able to create some space for himself in the center of the offensive zone and snap a shot top shelf to put the lone tally mark on the board.

“That was pretty cool,” Leier said about scoring on the same day he signed his contract. “I was pretty confident in myself coming into the game and that made me feel very comfortable I ended up getting a chance and I was able to put it into the back of the net. It was good.”

The whole day was good for the Flyers, who dominated the first period, got a little loosey-goosey in the second – even though they scored – but were able to settle down and hold the fort in the end.

“I thought the first period was our best period,” Laviolette said. “Through the course of the game you could start to see the wear and tear of the three days of hard practice where we really pushed them. But other than that I’m happy with the way we played and that we’re able to walk out of here with a win.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 50 37 9 4 163 112 78
2 FLA 51 31 15 5 141 112 67
3 NYR 52 29 18 5 148 134 63
4 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
5 BOS 51 27 18 6 149 136 60
6 DET 52 26 18 8 130 131 60
7 NJD 53 26 20 7 119 120 59
8 NYI 50 26 18 6 135 126 58
9 PIT 50 25 18 7 129 128 57
10 CAR 53 24 21 8 129 141 56
11 PHI 50 23 18 9 119 130 55
12 MTL 53 25 24 4 142 142 54
13 OTT 52 23 23 6 142 164 52
14 TOR 50 19 22 9 116 134 47
15 BUF 52 21 26 5 119 137 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Giroux 50 16 28 -4 44
J. Voracek 50 8 34 1 42
W. Simmonds 50 18 16 -4 34
B. Schenn 48 14 15 -1 29
S. Gostisbehere 32 9 17 4 26
S. Couturier 40 9 15 9 24
M. Read 49 9 9 -5 18
S. Laughton 50 4 10 -6 14
M. Raffl 50 6 6 2 12
M. Del Zotto 48 3 9 -9 12
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 12 12 7 .916 2.68
M. Neuvirth 11 6 2 .933 2.14
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