The two Guelph Storm players participating in Thursday's top prospects game were pretty pleased with the performance they turned in under the bright lights of a nationally televised game and the stand full of NHL scouts.
"I think I played all right," said centre Cam Hillis, who joined defenceman Ryan Merkley as the Storm's representatives in the game highlighting the top NHL draft-eligible players in the Canadian Hockey League.
"Going into the game my mindset was that I wanted to make an impact. You don't have to score or set up plays, but just to have that ongoing impact every shift," Hillis said.
"Winning draws, being good in your own zone, just little plays. Any time you could make an impact, that's what I was looking to do," Hillis said.
Hillis and Storm teammate Ryan Merkley were on the winning side Thursday, as their Team Cherry downed Team Orr 7-4 in the annual Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game at a sold out Sleeman Centre.
Team Cherry jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first period and never looked back.Ty Dellandrea of the Flint Firebirds had a pair of goals in a 20-second span of that firt period and London Knights defenceman Evan Bouchard had four assists in the contest to earn player of the game honours.
Merkley finished the game with one assist, Hillis was held pointless and missed a great chance to score when Merkley found him at the side of the net in the third period, but his shot just caught the outside of the post.
"You get used to it, there's a lot of big games in your career," Merkley said of playing in a game that could have significant bearing on where he gets drafted in June's NHL draft.
"I've played in an under-18 final, a youth Olympics final. There's a lot of pressure, you just deal with it as you go along in your career," Merkley said.
"It was obviously exciting to have it in Guelph. I had a lot of friends and family here. It was pretty cool," Merkley said.
Team Cherry was coached by hockey icon Don Cherry, with some help from former Ottawa 67s longtime coaches Brian Kilrea and bert O'Brien.
Team Orr was coached by hockey hall of famer Eric Lindros, assisted by the Guelph Storm coaching staff.
The Guelph Storm gets back to regular season action Friday night when the Flint Firebirds visit.