COLUMBUS, Ohio -- For hometown hockey player Trent Vogelhuber, Sunday night’s game at Nationwide Arena is one he will never forget. Even though it was an NHL exhibition game, Vogelhuber played in the city he grew up in, in front of family who supported him, and in front of the friends and teammates who encouraged him along his journey to his first NHL game.
“It’s good to see an exhibition game and it’s good to see my work in the offseason pay off and come down to this moment,” said Vogelhuber. “To be able to get the chance to play here with the Blue Jackets is great.”
Though he knew he had friends, family, teammates and neighbors all focused on him, Vogelhuber was only focused on playing his game.
TRAINING CAMP CENTRAL
“I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I would be,” said Vogelhuber. “It’s just an exhibition game, but it was a big game. In any big game, you are nervous going into the first shift. After that, you’re okay. The nerves all go away pretty quickly and you just want to do your part and try to get the win.”
Vogelhuber also shared the ice with players he idolized and looked up to, but he made sure he was not star struck for too long, as he had to concentrate on his team and contributing to the game's final outcome.
“I made sure to tell myself beforehand to not pay attention to who was out there on the ice because you can get into trouble if you do that,” said Vogelhuber. “In warm-ups I definitely peeked over and saw Evgeni Malkin and made eye contact with him, but then I went back to doing my thing. It was my first time playing against guys like that, so it was a cool experience.”
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Goaltender Oscar Dansk saw his first NHL ice time as well. He started the third period and played a solid 24 minutes for the Blue Jackets, including intense overtime hockey.
“It was an awesome feeling,” Dansk told BlueJackets.com. “I felt pretty good and pretty solid out there. I stuck with it and it went well. The pace was something I had to get used to, but I think I stepped up and did alright.”
Dansk, at 19 years old, is the youngest goaltender at Blue Jackets training camp and is soaking in the entire experience, including making saves on some of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ star players.
“It’s obvious that they had some of their regular players out there because they had Malkin, Beau Bennett and James Neal,” said Dansk. “They’re really good players and I faced a few shots from some of them, but it was still fun.”
With the first game under his belt, Dansk is looking ahead to spending more time in net. He heads to Minnesota to play the Wild tonight as part of the Blue Jackets’ split-squad exhibition game.
“It’s good to get that first experience out of the way,” said Dansk. “I wasn’t anticipating what happened in the first two periods there, but I’m looking forward to getting another opportunity.”