BROSSARD – Prospects and invitees closed out the Canadiens’ annual development camp on Sunday with a fast-paced scrimmage that saw Team Red register a 6-3 victory over Team White at the Bell Sports Complex.
Ben Duffy, who signed a tryout contract with the Habs in late June after leading the QMJHL in scoring during the 2012-13 season with the Prince Edward Island Rocket, scored three goals for Team Red in the win.
“It was a good team effort. Playing with [Sebastian] Collberg and [Erik] Nystrom, they made it pretty easy for me to play my game,” praised the Lower Sackville, NS native, who capped his Junior career with 39 goals and 110 points in 68 games. “I’m here to be a skill player. That’s what I do. Just being on a tryout basis, I knew I had to step up a little more and I think I’ve done that. I think I’ve stepped up offensively and showed what I can do.”
The all-time leading scorer in Rocket history, Duffy believes he made significant progress over the course of his first professional camp experience, and he was looking to close it out on a high note.
“I started off a bit slow. It was my first camp, just trying to adjust and get used to everything. As I got comfortable in my game, I started to hit my stride and I played well,” explained the 21-year-old centerman, who went undrafted and has committed to play for the University of New Brunswick come September to further his development. “I thought I might get a few opportunities [to be drafted], but I think it shows a lot about my character to kind of bounce back from stuff like that and take advantage of the opportunities that I do get.”
Like Duffy, goaltender Zachary Fucale is adamant that he leaves the Canadiens' development camp with a wealth of new information that will prove useful going forward.
“I could name a lot of things [that I’ll take way]. Just the way it works around here is a big thing. The philosophy of the Montreal Canadiens, and playing with guys who are much older, 22 and 23-year-old pro guys. So, it’s different and it’s fun. I think everyone enjoyed this whole week for sure,” mentioned the No. 36 overall selection in 2013, who turned aside 17 of the 20 shots he faced for Team Red. “We’re going to get back to fundamentals and work on little things and make sure we arrive ready in all aspects of the game for September’s [rookie] camp.”
That sentiment was echoed by Michael McCarron, the Canadiens’ first-round selection, 25th overall at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.
“It’s given me a lot of work that needs to be done to get up and play here,” admitted McCarron, who played alongside Sven Andrighetto and Jeremy Gregoire for Team White. “I had a pretty good weekend here. I just need to work on a few things, like my consistency and my quickness and I feel like I’m right there. So, just a little more work needs to be done and I feel like I’ll get here.”
Nystrom, Zach Hall and Louis Leblanc also tallied for Team Red, who outshot their opponents 38-28. Maxime Gravel, Patrick Holland and Darren Dietz scored for Team White.
Matt Cudzinowski is a writer for canadiens.com.
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