The Calgary Flames put a bow on their annual development camp at Winsport on Sunday morning with a scrimmage. The on-ice session pitted Team Conroy (in red) against Team Gelinas (in white) in an all-out battle for camp supremacy.
Team Conroy won 6-4 in the “game” sessions, while Team Gelinas triumphed in the shootout sessions by a combined 5-3 score.
The game began with five-on-five, then four-on-four, then a lengthy shootout session and a flood. Following the break, they continued with four-on-four, then went to three-on-three, then alternated periods of five-on-four for simulated power play work. Finally, they finished with a shorter shootout session.
The whole thing was seemingly designed to mix and match players, as well as try them out in a lot of different situations. Everyone’s already out of their comfort zone given it’s hockey in July, but this really served to keep everybody on their toes.
Dillon Dube opened the scoring for Team Conroy at five-on-five, as he battled after a faceoff win to recover the puck, then cycled to the top of the slot and beat Mason McDonald through traffic to make it 1-0. Walk-on player Bobby McMann beat Nick Schneider on a partial breakaway to tie the game.
Brett Pollock made it 2-1 Conroy during the four-on-four segment, cutting to the middle on an odd-man rush and beating Matthew Galajda inside the far post.
During the first shootout section, Spencer Foo, D’Artagnan Joly and Zach Fischer beat Galajda for Team Gelinas while Pollock, Michael Little and David Jankowski scored for Team Conroy on Justin Fazio.
Martin Pospisil extended Conroy’s lead to 3-1 early in the next four-on-four section, tapping in a very nice pass from a line-mate – the sight-lines at Winsport are such that I missed the passer unfortunately. But Milos Roman of Team Gelinas made it 3-2 with a tap-in off a nice passing sequence that ended with Joly finding Roman in front of the net.
Scoring up-ticked during the ensuing three-on-three sequence. Emilio Pettersen of Team Gelinas tied it up at 3-3 after a nice pass from Demetrious Koumontzis. Eetu Tuulola’s one-timer (of a Juuso Valimaki feed) made it 4-3 and put Team Conroy back on top, but Merrick Rippon went top-corner off a pass from Foo to make it 4-4 once again.
Team Gelinas couldn’t score during five minutes on five-on-four, but Matthew Phillips and Yasin Ehliz scored for Team Conroy to give them a 6-4 victory in the main on-ice sequence. Callum Cusinato and Rippon scored during the shootout for a measure of revenge for Team Gelinas.
Who looked good?
Bearing in mind that it’s July and everybody’s performance should be taken with a grain of salt, here are a few players that looked good.
In the “they are who we thought they’d be” category, Valimaki, Dube and Foo were among the most poised and polished players on the ice. Conroy’s team had a few more “high-end” prospects and so arguably Valimaki and Dube had the most help, but they performed well. Foo had less help, but he made a few nice plays and was dangerous when he was on the ice.
In terms of the rest of the Flames properties, Pollock, Phillips and Dmitry Zavgorodniy really looked solid. Pollock is a bit of a forgotten man – he came over in the Kris Russell trade and has since toiled in the minors – but he was good late last season for Stockton and looked poised and made a lot of smart plays. Phillips looked better than I thought he would, particularly against some of the college prospects who are bigger bodies. He had a lot of chemistry with Dube and they looked consistently dangerous. Zavgorodniy is only listed at 5’9″ and 173 pounds by Central Scouting, but he’s a thick player and was consistently hard to knock off the puck. He really managed the puck well on Conroy’s power play section.
In terms of walk-ons without Flames affiliations, McMann used his speed really well, Erik Brown narrowly missed on a couple scoring chances, and Galajda made a lot of solid saves between the game sessions and the shootout. When college free agency comes around in the spring, keep their names in mind.
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