TEAM WHITE EARNS 5-1 WIN OVER TEAM BLUE IN DEVELOPMENT CAMP INTRA-SQUAD SCRIMMAGENews | 7/15/2014 9:48:39 PM | ROCHESTER AMERICANS
The Buffalo Sabres continued their 2014 summer Development Camp Tuesday evening with the highly anticipated Blue-White intra-squad scrimmage at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo. More than 8,700 hockey-starved fans made their way to the downtown hockey barn to watch Team White claim a 5-1 win over Team Blue in what was the city’s first taste of NHL hockey since the curtain fell on the 2013-14 season this past spring.
The event fell on Day Two of Buffalo’s week-long camp, which hosted nearly 40 young Sabres prospects, including 12 players who spent time with the Rochester Americans during the 2013-14 season. The camp, designed to introduce prospective players to the fundamental ideas of the Sabres’ playing system and expose them to the conditioning programs of an NHL player, also featured each of the Sabres’ 2014 draft picks from last month’s NHL Draft in Philadelphia, including No. 2 overall pick Sam Reinhart, who was certainly at the forefront of the Sabres coaching staff and management this week. For many, it was prelude to the NHL style of play and a glimpse of what perhaps the future may hold.
“The pace was good right from the start. It’s always tough for everyone coming in right in the middle of summer, but the game was pretty quick and most guys handled it well,” said Reinhart. “I think the physical play really kept up there the whole game.”
“We were really impressed with the pace out there tonight and the intensity,” said Amerks head coach Chadd Cassidy, who along with the rest of Rochester’s coaching staff, is overseeing this week’s camp.”
Forward Drake Caggiula paced Team White with a pair of goals while Amerks defenseman Jerome Leduc, poised for his third season in Rochester in 2014-15, finished the contest with a goal and an assist in his first time back on the ice since recording a career-high three goals and 10 points last season. Patrick Russell and Nicholas Baptiste also contributed a goal apiece to round out the scoring for Team White.
Jonathon Martin tallied the lone goal for Team Blue in the losing effort.
Leduc, who skated with the Amerks in each of the past two seasons, got things going for Team White late in the first period when he buried a Nikita Zadorov rebound for the game’s first goal. Kevin Sundher, a teammate of Leduc’s in Rochester, moved off the left half-wall and weaved his way through the high slot before leaving the puck for Zadorov just inside the blueline. Zadorov, one of Buffalo’s two first-round picks in 2013, fired a shot through traffic that missed wide of the net and Leduc, having snuck behind the Team Blue defense, collected the rebound of the end boards and slammed it home to give White a 1-0 lead with 5:43 remaining in the first period.
A pair of second-period tallies spotted Team White to a 2-0 advantage, beginning with Russell converting midway through the frame with a high wrister that beat goaltender Cal Petersen to the upper left corner. Maxwell Willman, a 44-point-getter last season with Williston-Northampton high school and Buffalo’s fifth-round pick in this year’s draft, gained Team Blue’s zone and made a quick pass to Russell cutting in from the left side. Russell took Willman’s offer in stride, and using a defenseman as a screen, snapped a shot over Petersen’s glove from the bottom of the left circle at the 12:07 mark.
Caggiula, an undrafted forward who spent the 2013-14 season at the University of North Dakota, widened the gap for Team White when he slipped one behind Rochester netminder Andrey Makarov from within close range to give his team a three-goal cushion.
Team Blue eventually answered later in the period after Martin finished off a nifty setup by Liam Pecararo to make it a 3-1 game. Pecararo skated the puck into open space deep in the Team White zone and left it for Martin, who was trailing the play and fooled goaltender Jonas Johansson with a floater from the top of the crease. Defenseman Jake McCabe, who made his NHL debut for the Sabres last season and represented Team USA at the 2014 World Championship in Belarus this past spring, also earned an assist on the goal.
Baptiste quickly restored Team White’s three-goal lead just minutes into the third period on a spectaular individual effort. Baptiste, who signed a three-year, entry-level contract with Buffalo on May 31, outhustled an oncoming Blue defender to a loose puck and managed to ward him off while darting toward the net for the goal. Leduc also earned his second point of the night with the lone assist on the play.
Caggiula would add his second of the night with 1:02 remaining in the third period, securing the Team White’s 5-1 victory with an empty-netter.
After having Wednesday off, the Sabres youngsters get right back to work on Thursday for a double on-ice practice session before Friday’s lighthearted 3-on-3 tournament will officially bring this year’s camp to a close.
Goaltender Nathan Lieuwen* did not dress.
*Played with the Amerks in 2013-14