St. Paul, Minn. – Connor Bedard recorded a hat trick, and goaltender Drew Commesso pitched a shutout as the Chicago Blackhawks’ prospects defeated the St. Louis Blues’ prospects 5-0 in the second game of the 2023 Tom Kurvers Prospect Showcase in St. Paul on Saturday night.
Bedard, taken first overall in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft, waited until the 14:23 mark in the second period to score his first goal in a Blackhawks uniform. Six seconds after St. Louis was called for boarding at 14:17 in the second with Chicago already up 1-0, Bedard lasered the puck into the top left corner from the right faceoff dot to extend the lead to 2-0. Martin Misiak and Colton Dach were awarded assists on Bedard’s power-play goal. The 18-year-old nearly scored again two minutes later on a breakaway, but St. Louis goaltender Will Cranley made a shoulder save to keep the game at 2-0.
The Blackhawks' first chance of the game came just a over a minute into the first period with the top line of Bedard, Dach, and Nick Lardis on the ice. After an offering by Dach from the right circle, Bedard forced a St. Louis turnover and blazed a wrist shot off the shoulder of Blues goaltender Colten Ellis.
Both sides engaged in a physical start to the first period, and the tensions boiled over seven minutes into the action when Chicago defenseman Andrew Perrott dropped the gloves with St. Louis forward Samuel Bitten.
The five-minute majors to Perrott and Bitten started a barrage of penalties, including Blackhawks defenseman Nolan Allan's tripping minor on Attilio Biasca's drive to the net. The Chicago penalty kill jumped out to a strong start by killing off Allan’s minor and a high-sticking call against Samuel Savoie shortly after.
The Hawks headed to the penalty kill for the third time with 1:02 left in the first frame when Ethan Del Mastro was called for holding against Zachary Bolduc, the Blues' first-round selection from 2021. Later, Felcman interfered with a Blues defender at the 6:21 mark of the second period, and Chicago completed their fourth consecutive successful penalty kill of the night.
The Chicago prospects struck first at 13:54 in the second on a right-point shot from 2020 seventh-round selection Louis Crevier. The 6-foot-8 defenseman skated in 62 professional games with the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs in 2022-23 without recording a goal but marked the first tally of the showcase on Saturday night.
Following Bedard’s first goal, Dach extended Chicago’s lead to 3-0 on the first sequence of the third frame when he drove the net from the right wing. After the former second-rounder threw the puck to the net, a fortunate bounce off a Blues’ skate ricocheted into the back of the cage. Bedard picked up an assist on the goal.
With the Blackhawks on the power play early in the third period after a Blues’ crosschecking penalty, Bedard struck again to make it 4-0. The center dragged the puck around one St. Louis defender and then fired the puck over Cranley’s blocker and off the back bar for his second goal of the game. Korchinski and Dach earned helpers on Bedard’s second power-play marker.
Bedard completed the hat trick at 12:20 in the third period after Lardis, a 2023 third-rounder, carried the puck across the blue line and found him in the slot. Gliding to the right, Bedard shot across his body and picked the top left corner for his third goal of the game.
The Blackhawks’ prospects take on the prospects of the Minnesota Wild on Sunday, Sept. 17 at 3 p.m. in the final day of the 2023 Tom Kurvers Showcase.