By Donya Abramo
On Thursday, the Washington Capitals made their first round of roster cuts from Training Camp. Amongst the players cut were Aliaksei Protas and Connor McMichael, both forwards drafted by the Capitals in 2019 who each put up an impressive performance in Development Camp, the Prospect Showcase, and the preseason. McMichael and Protas were loaned back to their respective junior teams; the London Knights of the OHL for McMichael and the WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders for Protas.
That offensive momentum followed them to the WHL and OHL, as both players scored goals in their first games after returning to the junior league.
The Viper from Vitebsk! @Capitals prospect @protas_21 has the first goal of @PARaidersHockey's season!
— The WHL (@TheWHL) September 21, 2019
Protas got his goal from a spot that will be very familiar to Capitals fans. The goal was the Raiders’ first of the night, and of the season. They would eventually drop the game in overtime to the Saskatoon Blades, but if Protas’ opening performance is anything to go by, it will see the words of RMNB’s Chris Cerullo ring true.
“I think he’s going to be a standout in the WHL next season after getting his rookie year under his belt.”
McMichael goal earlier. pic.twitter.com/oTldQIbhf7
— Sean Patrick Ryan (@TheOilKnight) September 21, 2019
In almost a mirror image of Protas’ goal, McMichael netted his own from the same spot, on the opposite side of the ice. That goal narrowed the deficit against the Peterborough Petes, but it wasn’t enough to get them in reach of a win. The Petes would eventually win 6-4 in regulation, thanks in part to a contribution from Liam Kirk, the U.K. born and trained talent who was drafted to the NHL in 2018.
Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong
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