Sunday, January 27, 2019

Gurianov and L'Esperance Contribute to West Victory in Skills Challenge

Texas Stars forwards Denis Gurianov and Joel L'Esperance participated in the AHL Skills Challenge on Sunday night, helping the West edge the East 17-14. Both players were featured in three of the seven events.

(credit: Texas Stars)
Gurianov had a respectable showing in the Fastest Skater event, clocking a time of 13:703. The Russian winger nearly lost his edge on a turn, and probably would've fared better with another shot. Rochester Americans defenseman Brendan Guhle had an impressive attempt and finished with the fourth fastest time in league history. San Antonio Rampage forward upstaged him to end up third all time.

Florida Panthers prospect and Springfield Thunderbirds forward Anthony Greco outshone them all. Before the festivities, Greco made it clear that he was there to beat the record. His 13:251 not only locked him in for first place all time and dazzled the home crowd, it even beat Connor McDavid's time from the NHL Skills Competition the other night.

Gurianov's trio did not manage to score during the 3-on-0 event. The speedy forward did contribute to a comeback for the West during the breakaway event in which players are basically given a penalty shot on a goaltender. He strung a series of dekes together to finish with a soft backhand push that trickled the puck over the line.

L'Esperance also contributed during his breakaway chance. He was also featured in the Rapid Fire and Accuracy Shooting Challenges. He only managed to hit the two targets in the top corners on eight shots while picking his spots. He probably would've liked a better result, but the fact that L'Esperance is featured at all during his rookie season speaks his spectacular season so far.

Both Stars players will take part in tomorrow's All Star Classic.



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