Game 1
Rookies 8
Sophomores 9
Next Games
North American
National Skills
8 PM


LAS VEGAS - Los Angeles Kings' center Ryan Johansen already racked up one major honor in his young XHL career as he won the Calder trophy for rookie of the year last season. And after last night, he can now add one more trophy to his budding collection.

The 2016 XHL All-Star Weekend opened last night with the Gatorade 2016 XHL Futures Game - an event that always sees some of the top young players in the league show off their offensive skills. And last night was no different as Johansen took home MVP honors with a hat trick and an assist to lead the Sophomores to a 9-8 win over the Rookies.

"It was definitely a great game, and it's an honor to win MVP in the game," said Johansen. "It was an exciting atmosphere and I just felt good out there, so to be able to be named MVP is pretty cool."

The Sophomores won their third straight over the Rookies (there was no game in 2015 due to the truncated season) in a game that once again saw a flurry of goals from both teams.

Eight goals would be scored between the teams in the first period as the Sophomores got off to a quick start. Winnipeg's Landon Ferraro opened the scoring 2:26 into the first, followed eight seconds later by Johansen's first of the game as the Sophomores took a 2-0 lead, but just 12 seconds after Johansen's goal, Philadelphia's Johnny Gaudreau would score his own first goal of the game as the Rookies got on the board.

Gaudreau would strike once again at 4:15 with his second of the game to tie the score at 2, but Johansen would answer back with his own second of the game at 6:52 as the Sophomores went ahead 3-2.

But the Rookies, despite failing to beat the Sophomores since 2012, gave everything they had as they fought back to take the lead. Calgary's Kevin Lynch tied the game at 3 at 11:31, and then Boone Jenner of Dallas put the Rookies ahead at 15:03 before the Sophomores capped the scoring on the period as San Francisco's Nino Niederreiter scored at 17:35 to tie the game at 4.

The Sophomores would grab the lead again at 11:07 of the second as New England's Ondrej Palat made it 5-4, but the Rookies fought back yet again to take the lead. Gaudreau capped off the hat trick at 12:05 to tie the game at 5, and then Denver's Tyler Toffoli put the Rookies ahead at 12:40.

But once again, the Sophomores would fight back. Anaheim's Juuso Puustinen tied the game at 6 at 16:12, and then just ten seconds later, Palat scored his second of the game to give them a 7-6 lead after two.

The Rookies would once again battle back in the third as Lynch tied the score with his second of the game at 8:42, and then Toffoli put them ahead 8-7 at 11:18, but that would be the last time they would lead in the game as the Sophomores once again struck back.

Johansen capped off the hat trick to tie the game at 8 at 14:18, and then with time ticking down and overtime looming, Palat completed the hat trick of his own with 2:36 left in regulation as the Sophomores went ahead 9-8.

That would do it for the scoring on the night as the Sopohomores, and Ryan Johansen, opened All-Star Weekend with a bang.

TOMORROW: The 2016 Verizon XHL Skills Competition will take place as some of the biggest names in the league show off their talents in a variety of different skill events.

2016 XHL SEASON - All times Eastern

Sunday, May 29 - Verizon Skills Competition, 8 PM EST, NBCSN, CBC, TVA
Monday, May 30 - 2016 XHL All-Star Game, 4 PM EST, NBC, CBC, TVA
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