The wealth of prospects in the Chicago Blackhawks system leaves few open spots on the Rockford Icehogs roster for training camp invitees and American Hockey League (AHL) contracted players. For one of these players to make the team out of camp he will have to make a large impression.
Photo by Greg Hamil
Zach Torquato is trying to do just that.
Torquato, the 2007 Sixth Round (#178 overall) draft pick of the Detroit Red Wings and midsummer acquisition of the IceHogs, made his debut with the club Tuesday night against the Peoria Rivermen.
The Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario native wrapped up a five-year junior career in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) last season for the Saginaw Spirit and Erie Otters before signing an AHL contract with the IceHogs in July .
Over his five years in the OHL, Torquato competed in 330 games, amassing 134 goals, 195 assists for 339 points. The highlight being his overage season in 2009-10 where he put up 93 points in 68 games with the Otters.
The 6-foot centermen felt good about his play against the Rivermen on Tuesday and hopes that it gives him an edge in his attempt to crack the young but offensively skilled forward group that will be core of the IceHogs this season.
“I had a good game last night,” Torquato said, “I took advantage of the opportunities I was given and that’s what’s expected of me.”
Torquato potted two goals and was successful on a shootout attempt, which helped propel the IceHogs over the Rivermen 5-4.
Torquato hopes that both his offensive ability along with the versatility in his game can help him earn a spot on the Hogs roster this season.
“I can be the offensive guy or I can play two-way hockey,” Torquato said, “I will fill whatever role the coaches need me too.”
There will be no rest for Torquato, along with the rest of the Hogs hopefuls, day four of training camp continues tonight as the Hog’s head down to Rolling Meadows to take on the Chicago Wolves in preseason action.
The prospective Hog is taking things day-by-day, trying to absorb all that comes with being in his first professional season and hopes to continue his strong play tonight.
“It’s been pretty exciting, I just want to take it all in and try not to get overwhelmed.” Torquato said, “I want to play consistent hockey.”
If Torquato’s strong play continues throughout the remainder of IceHogs training camp there is a very good chance that Hogs fans could see him in the opening line-up come Oct. 9 against the Manitoba Moose.