The Colorado Avalanche skated in the annual Burgundy/White intra-squad scrimmage on Sunday at Magness Arena on campus at the University of Denver. With both teams boasting a roster of 21 players—consisting of NHLers and prospects—the Burgundy/White game gives everyone one last chance to tune up their game before the preseason starts on Monday.
University of Denver
September 21, 2014
The match was full of action and evenly paced throughout, offering plenty for fans to be excited about. The opening draw featured Matt Duchene—centering Jarome Iginla and Ryan O'Reilly—and Nathan MacKinnon—playing between Gabriel Landeskog and Alex Tanguay—and things only got better from there.
At the start of the first period, it was apparent that Team White was ready to go. The team was everywhere, smothering Burgundy and overwhelming the opposing defensemen. The omnipresent squad would be the first to score in the contest as well, with Dennis Everberg finding twine behind Burgundy goalkeeper Semyon Varlamov just six minutes into the game.
Everberg got the puck from linemate Paul Carey, who beat Varlamov to the puck behind the net and fed it in front for the tally.
The first-period dominance didn’t stop there for Team White either. With less than a minute to play in the opening frame, Duchene turned on the afterburners, wheeling behind his defenseman to force a two-on-one scenario. Across from him, the veteran Iginla was gliding in, ready for the pass, which he tapped into the goal for the 2-0 lead.
“It was nice to see them play together. I thought it was a great show for our fans. They moved the puck well,” said head coach Patrick Roy following the scrimmage. “Quite honestly, since the start of our camp, I love the intensity that our players are playing with.”
Burgundy wasn’t going to go down without a fight though, and came out for the second period ready to return the favor. It took nearly half the period to get the first one, but it was a beauty when it happened. Speedy defenseman Tyson Barrie caught a breakaway pass from Michael Sgarbossa, and headed down the ice, mano-a-mano with Finnish netminder Sami Aittokallio.
Barrie made a move on the prospect and roofed the puck in, top shelf over Aittokallio’s glove.
Burgundy struck again nearly four minutes later when Avalanche captain Landeskog dished a pass to his center, MacKinnon, in the slot. MacKinnon flashed a dangle on Aittokallio and pulled the puck to his backhand, launching it over the goalie’s leg and up into the net to tie the game.
Entering the third period with the game tied at two apiece, fans knew they were going to get some action in the final stanza. They wouldn’t be disappointed.
Burgundy took the lead after Lake Erie Monsters stand-out Andrew Agozzino managed to corral an errant puck in the midst of a scrum and flip it over Czech goaltender Roman Will. The celebration was short-lived for Team Burgundy, as White managed to snag the equalizer seconds later when Michael Schumacher snuck a hard-angle shot from the inside red line behind Francois Tremblay to tie the contest back up.
It looked like the game was headed to a shootout as the waning seconds ticked down, but Duchene had other plans. With 1:07 remaining on the clock, Duchene sent a laser into the net to take the game 4-3 in favor of White.
“It was a fun battle, playing against them. Very competitive. Both our lines pushed each other and all the other guys played great too. It was a great, close game,” said Duchene after the win. “It was a pretty intense game. A lot of hits. Obviously, the glass broke a couple times. It was fun to get out there and play our first real game after the summer.”
Despite the score, the game concluded with a six-person shootout featuring a variety of players. Goalies Tremblay and Will made some choice saves while guys like MacKinnon, O’Reilly, Maxim Noreau, Paul Carey and Conner Bleackley scored.
“For our fans, I thought it was great,” said Roy.
Both teams subbed goalies after each period of the contest. Reto Berra (White) and Varlamov (Burgundy) started the first period. Avalanche supporting goaltender Berra was perfect in his 20 minutes of playing time, stopping all 10 shots faced. Monsters netminders Calvin Pickard (Burgundy) and Aittokallio (White) played in the second. Pickard stopped all eight shots sent his way. Prospects Will (White) and Tremblay (Burgundy) played in the third period and the shootout.
Iginla and Duchene each had a multi-point night as both scored a goal and had an assist. Each forward assisted on the other’s tally.
Team White is 5-9 all-time in the preseason scrimmage.
With Colorado Avalanche Training Camp now in the books, the team will begin the preseason with a home-and-away, split-squad series of games with the Anaheim Ducks on Monday. The Avs play at 7 p.m. MST at home at Pepsi Center and at 8 p.m. MST in Anaheim at the Honda Center.