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New B's defeat NJ Devils Rookies, 5-1

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
Shelton, CT -- The Boston Bruins rookie squad bested the New Jersey Devils youngsters, 5-1, in an exciting exhibition game Sunday afternoon at the Sportscenter of Connecticut. Boston training camp invitee Daryl Boyle scored two goals and Zach Hamill, Mikko Lehtonen, and Brad Marchand added one goal each. Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask was perfect through just under half of the contest, while his backup Adam Courchaine only allowed one in 30-plus minutes.

"I felt pretty confident the whole game," said Rask, who marveled at his team's ability to gel is such a short time. "the truth is that the guys played really good defense, today.

"I was (surprised). I am not (used to) that kind of defense, or that kind of team defense.

"And we've only been together one week, so it was amazing how well we played," he said.

The game was colored Black & Gold to start, and although Boston wasn't able to muster too many scoring opportunities, they controlled play during the first period from the drop of the puck.

The Devils were able to withstand much of the B's offensive onslaught, but Hamill, Boston's first pick in the 2007 Entry Draft, took a feed from former Cornell Big Red captain, Byron Bitz, and scored at 18:06.

Rask turned away all of New Jersey's opportunities in the first frame, and showed why he comes into his pro career as one of the Bruins organization's brightest stars. His fine goaltending, coupled by strong defense from Matt Hunwick and Denis Reul, sent Boston to the room, in control by a score of 1-0.

"It's definitely a battle, every shift," explained Hunwick. "But since development camp, I was able to come out a few weeks early with (the pros), so I had the speed part of it down.

"And skating with the big guys the last couple of days has really helped me."

"I think I played okay," said Reul, who has just recently been introduced to North American hockey after being drafted by the B's out of Germany.  "I don't think I showed (all) I can do."

His coach disagreed.

"Even the guys who we thought might have (needed) a bigger adjustment, like Denis Reul, stepped in and really surprised me (with) how he was able to adapt," said Providence Bruins head coach Scott Gordon, who manned the bench for Boston on Sunday. "This was his first taste of (professional) North American hockey, so I thought it was great."

The second period was, for the most part, controlled by New Jersey, but they were only able to best the B's goaltenders once.

Boston's Lehtonen scored the eventual game-winner when he tipped in a Hunwick offering at 4:11 and made the score 2-0.

"I just got in front and (Hunwick) just passed it," said Lehtonen. "I don't think it was a shot.

"I just tipped it."

Coming off the bench cold, Bruins camp invitee Courchaine, took over for Rask who was unbeaten through 29:45. New Jersey's Mike Pandolfo quickly beat Courchaine at 10:23 of the stanza.

Courchaine recovered from the quick score, however, and kept his net clean for the rest of the period and the game.

Highly touted Bruins power forward, Milan Lucic, was challenged to square off at 15:43 by NJ defenseman Mark Fraser. Lucic looked to finish an offensive opportunity, but when Fraser persisted, a bout ensued and the Bruins forward won a clear decision over the older Devils D-man.

"It was just some pushing and shoving, back and forth," said Lucic. "Obviously, when you get into something like that at this level you have to take care of business."

"Milan's a tough customer and he's a real complete player," said Gordon of his powerful winger. "He plays both ends of the ice .

"He can play on your power play and he and he can kill penalties.

"And, he had the fight, so you can see why he was a top pick," he said.

Despite the fireworks, Boston remained in the lead and went to the second break with a narrow 2-1 edge.

The momentum shifted permanently toward the Hub of Hockey during the third session as Boyle scored twice.

"That first one was just a good pass," said Boyle.  "The second one, I was just throwing that on net, and thankfully it went in."

Canada/Russia Super Series hero Brad Marchand closed out the scoring at 18:36 to give the young B's a decisive 5-1 victory.

"Our guys did a tremendous job," said Coach Gordon in reflection after the match. "We threw a lot at them over the week (including) the details that they needed to apply themselves in order to (compete).

"They did a great job."

The Bruins rookies return to Massachusetts Sunday night and are scheduled to practice at Wilmington's Ristuccia Memorial Arena Monday afternoon at 1 p.m. Boston's major league squad will travel to St. John's, Newfoundland on Tuesday for their first exhibition tilt against the New York Islanders.
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