By Michael Caples -
BUFFALO, N.Y. – If performing well in spotlight games is something he will do often, Evan Allen won’t have a hard time adjusting in Ann Arbor.
The Sterling Heights native and University of Michigan commit posted two goals in the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game in Buffalo – the only two goals his team would score on the evening.
Allen, a 17-year-old forward currently playing for the National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, scored twice in the final frame, knocking in rebounds at the 6:08 and 13:50 marks of the third period. It wasn’t enough for Team Housley, however, as they lost to Team McClanahan 5-2.
The Michigan native and Honeybaked product said his performance in a game featuring the top draft-eligible players from across the United States will help him in a crucial year for young hockey players.
“I thought I played pretty good,” said Allen, who is listed at 5-foot-10 and 195 pounds. “I didn’t really know what to expect from the game, but I got those two goals and got my confidence up. It was an awesome experience and to know that I’m getting up there with the top guys is a real confidence booster for me.”
Allen said that he enjoyed skating with both his current and former teammates at the NTDP, and meeting a new group of players that he will see for years to come.
“Yeah it was awesome, back skating with the old 18s and the top guys for the draft and just getting to know everyone,” Allen said. “It was a good experience.”
He also said he wasn’t concerned with the amount of scouts watching from the stands, even after the players were forewarned by Jim Johannson, USA Hockey’s assistant executive director of hockey operations. Every NHL team was in attendance for the inaugural prospects game.
“They told us, Johannson told us before, maybe like 150 [scouts], but I wasn’t really aware,” Allen said. “I wasn’t too focused on it.”
Allen cracked NHL Central Scouting’s initial list of players to watch for the 2013 NHL Draft. Last year, he recorded 17 goals and 19 assists for 36 points in 52 games with the U.S. National Under-17 team. And speaking of showing up for big games, Allen had four points (one goal and three assists) in the U17 team’s victory over Slovakia to claim first place at the Vlad Dzurilla Under-18 tournament. In 2010-11, he had 14 goals and 24 assists in 34 games with Honeybaked’s midget minor squad.
Allen said he was glad he was able to participate in the inaugural game in Buffalo in front of almost 6,000 people.
“Yeah, first one, it was pretty cool, it was a pretty good atmosphere,” Allen said. “We didn’t know how many people were going to be here, so it was cool.”