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The Breakdown: Piercey Leads Red Wings to Win at Prospects Tourney

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Riley Piercey, Detroit Red Wings invitee

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — Riley Piercey has never had a hockey day quite like Friday. He is undrafted. Piercey is a free agent invitee for the Red Wings in the NHL Prospect Tournament. He’s unsure what the future holds for him in hockey.

But maybe he opened an opportunity door a crack by scoring four goals in the Red Wings’ 5-2 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets at the NHL Prospect Tournament.

“It’s definitely a pretty crazy experience, coming in, soaking in the last 48 hours, getting down here, getting together as a team,” Piercey said. “It’s a pretty good performance…kind of everything you wish for.”

Piercey had never scored four goals in one game before at any level. He did net a hat trick last season playing for the Ontario Hockey League’s Firebirds.Oddly, no one at the Traverse City arena threw any hats when Piercey scored his third or fourth goal.
Detroit teammate Simon Edvinsson even raised four fingers to remind the crowd it was his fourth goal.

Piercey wasn’t surprised by the lack of hat tossing. “I’m the new guy on the block,” he said. “That’s fine with me

Free agents come to these prospect tournaments to get signed, or at least get noticed. The 6-foot-3 right wing scored 27 goals last season in Flint. He was teammates in Flint with Red Wings’ draftee Amadeus Lombardi.

“I just take what life throws at me, step by step, shift by shift, never thinking too far ahead, never thinking about the past, just clean mindset,” Piercey said. “I’m the new guy on the block just trying to make a name for myself. Just taking everything slow, processing it and learning from that.”

Facts and Observations

  1.  Jeremie Biakabutuka, the nephew of former University of Michigan and NFL tailback Tim Biakabutuka, is also an undrafted invitee for the Red Wings. The young defenseman posted two assists against Columbus. He has been playing in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League
  2. Cross Hanas (55th overall in 2020) played impressively, registering two assists.  He stripped the puck away from a Columbus defenseman and had a breakaway in the opening moments of the game against Columbus. He didn’t score. Hanas is trying to prove he’s ready for the rigors of the American Hockey League. Hanas played on the power play and penalty killing units.
  3. Detroit goalie Sebastian Cossa (drafted 15th overall in 2021) stopped 17 of 18 in 30 minutes of work for Detroit. He looked particularly sharp in the first 10 minutes of the second period.
  4. Former University of Michigan player Kent Johnson, drafted fifth overall in 2021, scored for Columbus against Detroit.
  5. The Red Wings rookies will play the Dallas Stars rookies Saturday at 6 p.m. at the NHL Prospects Tournament. Windsor Spitfires standout Wyatt Johnston plays for the Stars.
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