The Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers faced off in the first of two rookie games set to take place this weekend on Saturday afternoon. The Rangers played host for the first game at MSG Training Center in Tarrytown, New York, but the visiting Flyers would hold on for a 6-3 victory. They’ll head back home to host the Rangers at the Flyers Training Center in Voorhees, New Jersey tomorrow.
Ian Laperriere served as head coach for today, and he gave Kirill Ustimenko the start in goal for the Flyers. Ustimenko looked pretty stout between the pipes after missing most of the 2020-21 season with a torn labrum that required surgery. He seemed to move well in his crease and made some sharp saves for Philadelphia to help try and preserve the lead. The two goals he let in weren’t great, and he’ll likely spend the bulk of his 2021-22 season in Allentown with the Phantoms, but it’s a stepping stone to get back into the habit of facing some competition for the young netminder.
Samuel Ersson replaced Ustimenko midway through the second period. Ersson, who signed his entry-level deal in June after playing in his native Sweden, let in his first shot on goal he faced, but was stellar the rest of the way through in the game and did not allow another goal to help seal the deal for the Flyers in the win. He’ll be fighting in the minors this season with Ustimenko and fellow Swede Felix Sandström for playing time as he looks to make his mark in the Flyers organization.
Morgan Frost, another player who missed most of last year with an injury, looked as he should against a group of roster hopefuls and young NHL players. He was utterly dominant in his playmaking and was able to find his open teammates and see the ice as he’s used to. He recorded two, possibly three, assists and a deserved empty-net goal in the matchup while also being on the ice for a fourth Flyers goal.
He was at his best on both sides of the puck and looked fantastic. Frost will be a player that will have plenty of eyes on him in training camp next week as he looks to crack the Philadelphia lineup and hopefully stay healthy this season.
Tyson Foerster, Philadelphia’s first-round draft choice in 2020, racked up two goals in the effort. His shot looked incredible and the Rangers could not contain him, especially in the first period when he did his damage. Foerster is another player that will play his hockey with the Phantoms this upcoming season, but if last season’s success and this rookie camp have shown anything, he could be knocking on the door to play in the NHL very soon should he continue the trend.
Wade Allison, like Frost, will be vying for a full-time roster spot this season. After an impressive showing of seven points in his first 14 NHL games at the end of last season, Allison tried to endear himself more to his teammates and the organization with a fight in today’s game. Allison took exception to a hit and dropped the gloves against big New York forward Matthew Rempe, who stands at 6’8” and 240 pounds, and he held his own against Rempe just past the halfway mark of the first frame. Allison showed his grit and physicality today, and that could be used to his advantage come training camp.
Linus Sandin also had a fantastic game. The Swedish forward scored two goals of his own in the contest, including the fourth and game-winning marker late in the second period. Sandin spent last season with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and will probably play with them again this year, but the 25 year-old looked sharp and if he can carry his offensive momentum into training camp, he could be a player to watch out for when the Flyers start making roster cuts.
Ethan Samson also chipped in today. While he was also effective in his own end, the 18 year-old defenseman that was selected in the sixth round of the 2021 Draft by the Flyers also found the back of the net for Philadelphia today. It was a wrist shot from the left side that looked like it deflected on the way in, but Samson was credited for it on the initial shot. Samson will likely be heading back to Prince George of the WHL this season, but it was a nice showing for the young defender.
The Flyers will play the Rangers again tomorrow afternoon at the Flyers Training Center for the second leg of this rookie game series. Defenseman Cam York and forward Tanner Laczynski are expected to be in the lineup tomorrow for Philadelphia as they look to complete the sweep over New York in Voorhees.