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Scrimmage notes: Prospects energized after first game of camp

by Ryan Rodriguez / Chicago Blackhawks
John Dahlstrom scored for Team B in the first day of scrimmages at Prospect Camp. (Chase Agnello-Dean)

Team B scored three unanswered goals in the third period during the first scrimmage of Prospect Camp to defeat Team A by a final score of 3-1 on Monday at Johnny’s IceHouse West.

For many of the Blackhawks prospects in attendance, the scrimmage was a welcome change of pace from the many practices and testing that normally comes with training camp in July.

“It was nice, scrimmages are always a fun thing,” said 2016 first-round pick Alex DeBrincat, who played on the top line for the victorious Team B. “It’s a nice little break from all of the workouts and whatnot. It’s more of a time to play your game and have some fun.”

Team A, wearing white jerseys, jumped out to an early lead after right wing Fredrik Olofsson, a 2014 fourth-round pick, tipped home a pretty feed through the crease from defenseman Luc Snuggerud, a 2014 fifth-round pick, at 3:46 of the first period; the two are teammates at the University of Nebraska–Omaha.

“It’s so nice to have some of my teammates here,” Olofsson said. “We just get to reconnect, talk about the season coming up, talk about the season that just finished. We’re all good friends.”

After nearly cashing in on several more chances towards the end of the first period, Team A carried a 1-0 lead into the locker room. However, Team B would fire back with several chances in the second, nearly tying the game on a wrist shot from the top of the right faceoff circle from Western Michigan forward Matheson Iacopelli, who took off on a breakaway.

Center Roy Radke, a 2015 sixth-round pick, had the best chance to convert for Team B in the second frame. After being hooked on a clean break towards the net, Radke was awarded the game’s only penalty shot. After a nifty backhand-forehand move, he managed to beat goaltender Collin Delia on the low blocker side, but his shot rang off the post and up into the netting.

A few more solid looks proved fruitless, and Team A managed to hold onto its 1-0 lead going into the third.

With a little more than 4 minutes left in the scrimmage, Team B finally broke through after Radke found 2015 seventh-round pick John Dahlstrom alone in front of the net with a slick pass through the slot that Dahlstrom managed to poke home. Left wing Alexandre Fortin put Team B up 2-1 several minutes later after collecting a rebound on the side of the cage following a point shot through traffic. The free-agent invitee from Rouyn-Noranda would add an empty netter with 38 seconds left to put his team up 3-1 and ice the game for good.

“It’s a lot of work, but everyone’s got a good attitude and good energy, so it makes it worth it,” Olofsson said after the scrimmage. “The main thing I think is just to stick to the process. We’re not all first-rounders that come in right away, and everyone’s road is different.”

“Obviously everyone around here wants to play in the NHL, but for a lot of us it’s just a matter of when,” DeBrincat said. “I think you just have to play your game and hope for the best.”

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