The 27-year-old from Minneapolis scored the tying goal for PlanetUSA midway through the third period in a 7-6 victory over the Canadian all-stars. Westrum, who leads the Marlies with 19 goals, 29 assists and 48 points this season, also had an assist in his second AHL all-star appearance.
The Marlies have struggled this season and recorded only four victories in 21 home games. Westrum joked it was nice to get a win for a change at the Ricoh Coliseum.
“It’s weird being on the opposite bench,” Westrum said. “I might have to bring some of that (luck) back to our locker-room and get going here in February.”
As far as all-star games go, this one actually had a solid pace – especially in the final period.
“It was fun to see guys kind of pick up their game a little bit,” Westrum said. “Obviously not a lot of hitting or anything in the third, but there was a little more speed, a little more intensity – so it was fun.”
Westrum, who has played two games for the Toronto Maple Leafs this season, was the lone Marlie in the game. His teammate Kris Newbury made the Canadian all-star roster but was called up by the Leafs earlier in the day.
Hamilton Bulldogs goalie Jaroslav Halak played a strong opening period for PlanetUSA. Halak, selected by Montreal with the No. 271 overall selection of the 2003 NHL draft, stopped 19 of 21 shots. Bulldogs teammate Andrei Kostitsyn had three shots but was held without a point. Binghamton Senators forward Josh Hennessy had one assist.
Forward Jason Jaffray of the Manitoba Moose – the Vancouver Canucks’ AHL affiliate – had a goal and an assist for the Canadian all-star team. Mike Keane, who has played 1,161 NHL games and was the oldest player on the ice at age 39, had an assist, while fellow Moose forward Brad Moran was held pointless despite four shots on goal.
Canadian centre Dustin Boyd, who plays for the Calgary Flames’ affiliate in Omaha, had a great scoring chance late in the second period but couldn’t find the mark. Ak-Sar-Ben Knights teammate Curtis McElhinney was between the pipes for the third period, stopping 14 of 17 shots.