Speed and physicality were the themes of the day during the first scrimmage of Prospects Camp, as the Red team, led by two goals from Ben Smith and another by Bill Sweatt, beat the White team 5-0.
“The fast tempo [today] was outstanding,” said Rockford IceHogs coach Mike Haviland, who is supervising camp. “It’s great to see, because that’s where the game’s going.”
After nearly 14 scoreless minutes in the first 25-minute half, Sweatt took a pass from Chris Auger to take the lead for White, which they would never surrender. Smith, the Hawks’ 6th-round draft pick this year from Boston College, added two goals of his own, and Red held a 4-0 lead by the end of the first half.
“I really liked Ben Smith
; I thought he played really outstanding,” said Haviland. “The speed was really what got me. [He] really stepped up and had a good day today.”
Goaltenders Josh Unice and Joe Fallon combined for the shutout and both made good-looking saves to preserve Red's lead early in the game. White goalie Antti Niemi, who surrendered a goal in the second half, looked good in his limited time in net as well as in the drills earlier in the morning.
Away from the puck, Red's Adam Berti and White’s Simon Danis-Papin supplied more than their fair share of hits during the scrimmage. Berti, a forward, showed that he could play at both ends of the ice and delivered several punishing hits both on defense and in transition. The 6’7” Danis-Papin, who also handled the puck well for a defenseman, spent most of the game separating forwards from the puck.
First-round draft pick Kyle Beach
summed up the physicality of today’s scrimmage the best: “Emotions run high out there during games, and it’s definitely an intense game. And you [always] want to win.”
Red's defense was led by Brennan Turner, who also added a goal, and 2008 draft pick Shawn Lalonde
. The 2008 3rd round pick played a great game, never giving White a clean look at the net.
A pair of 2008 draft picks also played well in White’s loss: Teigan Zahn and Jonathan Carlsson. While neither played a physical game, both did enough to disrupt Red's offense and forced several pucks out of their zone.
Free agent invitee Mike Radja also made a big impact in the win, tallying two assists in the first half.
With three more scrimmages left this week, the players are doing their best to stay loose and remember why they’re here.
“It’s a lot of fun to be here. I’m very excited,” said Niemi.
|Period ||Time ||Goal ||Assisted By ||Goaltender |
|1 ||11:00 ||B. Sweatt ||C. Auger, T. McNeely ||J. Palmer |
|1 ||9:15 ||B. Smith ||M. Radja ||J. Palmer |
|1 ||6:23 ||A. Berti ||P. Asselin ||S. Dahm |
|1 ||4:30 ||B. Turner ||M. Radja, A. Wilkins ||S. Dahm |
|2 ||10:30 ||B. Smith ||Unassisted ||A. Niemi |