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Duchene, O'Reilly 'Wows' at Day 2 of Camp

by Ron Knabenbauer / Colorado Avalanche

CENTENNIAL, Colo. – Colorado Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy perfectly summed up the combination of Matt Duchene and Ryan O'Reilly: "Wow."

For the second straight scrimmage, the No. 3 and No. 33 overall picks from the 2009 draft shined on the ice together as each picked up a goal and two assists in Team Black's 5-3 win over Team Blue at Day 2 of Avalanche training camp.

"I thought it was a nice clinic out there," Roy said of the duo on Friday. "Matty and Ryan seem to work very well together. Ryan is a smart guy, you see him, he's so good along the wall, making room for Dutchy. They click really well."

And not to be outdone, the other player on the line – 2012 third-round pick Troy Bourke – also had another good game, picking up a goal and an assist.

The Bourke-Duchene-O'Reilly line, which also had success in Thursday's game, has been responsible for five of Team Black's eight goals in its two scrimmages at Avalanche training camp.

Erik Johnson had a two-goal game in Friday's contest for Team Black, which included a snap shot from the right circle after O'Reilly fed him the puck. His second tally came on a one-time shot off a pass from Duchene and just moments after Andre Benoit scored on a penalty shot breakaway to get Team Blue back to within one score, 5-4, with nine minutes left to play.

"He was good," Roy said of Johnson. "He scored two goals, jumping in the rush. I thought his decisions were really good with the puck, he made good breakouts, he was good joining the rush at the right time."

The performance of Johnson, O'Reilly and Duchene was just the tip of a good second day of training camp in the eyes of Roy.

"Love it. Even better than yesterday," Roy said to open his post-practice news conference about the overall session. "Yesterday was very good, but today I thought was outstanding."

After defeating Team Black 6-3 on Thursday, Paul Stastny, Gabriel Landeskog, Semyon Varlamov and the rest of Team Gray participated in a morning practice with Roy and the rest of the Colorado coaching staff.

And again, Roy said he was impressed.

"I loved the way we practiced," he said. "In our coaching, to talk to the players, the way we wanted the drill to be done, it was even better than yesterday."

Team Blue, and rookie Nathan MacKinnon, got their first taste of game action Friday after participating in the practice Thursday.

MacKinnon was paired with wingers Jamie McGinn and Steve Downie in the scrimmage and Roy said earlier this summer that the No. 1 overall pick could be playing on the same line when the Avs start playing other NHL teams in the coming weeks

Despite not picking up any points, McGinn said the chemistry of the line is heading in the right direction

"Our line came out, guns blazing right at the start, and then we got lost a bit in our own end, but we came out strong in the second half. It's going to get a little bit to get used to, and that's expected, but as long as the effort is there and we're working and we're getting better each day, that is a huge positive."

The scrimmage started with back-and-forth play by both teams before Bourke put Team Black ahead early in the first of two 40-minute, running-time periods.

O'Reilly added to Black's lead with 11 minutes left with a wrist shot from the right circle, but a tip-in goal by Team Blue's Cody McLeod with 5:22 remaining in the opening period made it a 2-1 game entering the intermission.

It was quickly a tied 2-2 contest as McLeod added his second of the game just seconds into the final stanza.

Team Black would answer, though, as Duchene scored on a rebound six minutes later and Johnson's first tally with 16:20 left put them ahead for good.

Once again, two of the Avalanche's amateur scouts coached the teams as Rick Lanz led Team Black and Neil Shea led Team Blue.

Five goalies participated in the scrimmage and, like the players, did on-the-fly changes in net. For Team Blue, Kent Patterson and Calvin Pickard gave up two goals each while Kieran Millan stopped all but one of the shots he faced. For Team Black, Jean-Sebastien Giguere was scored on twice, while 2013 draft pick Spencer Martin was only scored on once – on Benoit's penalty shot goal.

No shot totals were recorded in the game.

There was only one injury concern in the contest as Downie, who missed most of last season with a torn ACL, left in the second period and didn't return. Roy said that the gritty winger is "fine" and he will be back on the ice tomorrow.

Joey Hishon is still day-to-day as he attempts to come back from a groin injury, but Roy said he could be back soon.

"If he can go on the ice in the next few days, we can see what he can do," Roy said.

The Avalanche will close out its practice portion of training camp Saturday at Family Sports Center. Team Black will practice at 9 a.m. before Team Gray and Team Blue play in the final scrimmage at 10:30 a.m. Camp will officially close Sunday with the annual Burgundy/White Game at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs (12 p.m.).


"It was a great show. I thought it was fun. I thought our fans had a good time watching it."
     –Patrick Roy on the scrimmage

"You can feel the excitement in the room. We're taking it one day at a time, but we're excited in here. It's going to be an exciting year."
     –Jamie McGinn on the first two days of training camp

"Guys are going hard, there is lots of physical play. It's stuff you don't see in the offseason. It's good to come back and get right into it."
     –Tyson Barrie on the day's scrimmage

"I think we did a pretty good job in our own end today; we tried to minimize the mistakes. It was only the first scrimmage in a few months so it was kind of tough to get going at first. We did a pretty good job as the game went on."
     –PA Parenteau on Team Blue's performance in the scrimmage


Team Black


Ryan O'ReillyMatt DucheneTroy Bourke

Bryan Lerg – John Mitchell – Patrick Bordeleau

Michael Schumacher – Brad Malone – Gabriel Desjardins – Guillaume Desbiens


Erik JohnsonChris Bigras

Jan HejdaMason Geertsen

Karl Stollery – Daniel Maggio


Jean-Sebastien Giguere & Spencer Martin

Team Blue


Jamie McGinnNathan MacKinnonSteve Downie

Cody McLeodColin SmithPA Parenteau

Paul CareyMichael ClarkeMark OlverAndrew Agozzino


Tyson BarrieMatt Hunwick

Gabriel BeaupreAndre Benoit

Nick Holden – Nat Guenin


Calvin Pickard, Kieran Millan & Kent Patterson

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