Hockey returned to the desert this past weekend as the Arizona Coyotes kicked off the Arizona Rookie Faceoff. The games featured prospects from the Coyotes, Vegas Golden Knights, Anaheim Ducks, Colorado Avalanche, San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings, in contests played at Gila River Arena and the Ice Den in Scottsdale.
For the Coyotes, the games provided a first hand look at the promising future in store for the club.
Most notably, first round draft pick Dylan Guenther who the Coyotes grabbed ninth overall kicked off his weekend with a highlight worthy goal. Ripping a wrist shot from the left circle, he sent the puck top shelf bursting the water bottle of the Golden Knight goaltender. Guenther would net two beautiful goals in the game and showcased a lethal scoring ability that is something the Coyotes have not seen in a very long time.
Ben McCartney who was drafted by the Coyotes in 2020 also looked impressive in the opening game tallying points in a variety of situations and seeming to be everywhere on the ice. Destined for further development in Tucson, McCartney appears to be on a solid track to the NHL.
Matias Maccelli and defenseman Vladislav Kolyachonok also picked up points in a solid overall effort to the club. For Maccelli, his skating ability paired with his passing and play making ability seems poised for positive development. Kolyachonok also showed his skating ability and his strength with his play along the boards.
In the second game of the weekend, Guenther again lit the lamp for his third goal. Ty Emberson flashed his physical presence on the ice, notably while the team was shorthanded and Liam Kirk started to show more comfortability as the games have gone on. For this game, just about every situation occurred. Whether it was power plays, penalty kills, 3-on-3 overtime and then the shootout, this one had it all. In the end, the Kings would prevail in the shootout.
Capping off the action with a Monday afternoon game, the Coyotes battled with the Ducks in an offensive contest that saw a combined 9 goals hit the back of the net. This game saw a tremendous amount of penalties with the second period seeming to be never-ending trips to the penalty box. Once again McCartney and Guenther were standouts in the contest. McCartney showed off a tremendous effort on a game tying goal where he was tripped in front of the Ducks net. He stayed with the play and finished it by scoring from practically his knees to tie the game at 2.
Guenther again showing off his offensive abilities found Maccelli in the slot late in the game to tie it at 4. Unfortunately for the Coyotes, the Ducks would answer with a crushing 1.7 seconds remaining on the clock.
The Coyotes would go on to finish the Rookie Faceoff with a 1-1-1 record. While there was plenty of sloppy play to go around on all sides, there were key moments like above and many more that showed an incredibly bright future for the Coyotes.
To cap it all off with a simple statement: Coyotes fans are going to absolutely love Dylan Guenther and Ben McCartney.Embed from Getty Images