Training camp continued on Wednesday in rainy Portland, Maine for the Coyotes’ top affiliate in the American Hockey League.
The Portland Pirates played their third intra-squad scrimmage in as many days in preparation for their first preseason game on Thursday afternoon against the University of New Brunswick.
“It’s been a good camp,” said Coyotes Assistant General Manager Brad Treliving, who also serves as G.M. of the Pirates. “Guys are working really hard and we like that, but we’ve got a lot of work to do. We’ve got a good group of defensemen and our goaltenders have looked good. Up front we’re young and that’s going to be a work in progress. We’ve got a lot of young players and for some of them this is their first year as a pro and they’re trying to establish themselves. But everyone is working hard and is being attentive to the coaches, and their attitudes are terrific.”
Thursday’s game will begin at 12:30 p.m. (EST) at the Portland Ice Arena.
After Wednesday’s practice, the Pirates pared their roster by two by assigning goalie Louis Domingue and defenseman Justin Weller to the Coyotes’ ECHL affiliate in Gwinnett, Ga. That leaves 28 players – 17 forwards, eight defenseman and three goalies – left in camp for the Pirates, who open their regular season on Oct. 13. More roster moves will be made immediately after Thursday's game or perhaps on Friday.
Because of the ongoing NHL labor negotiations, the Pirates have had extra coaches on hand for their training camp, including Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett and Coyotes Goaltenders Coach Sean Burke.
“We’ve had a full Coaches’ Room, that's for sure,” Treliving said.
Tippett, who’d attended camp since it started on Saturday, left Portland after Wednesday’s practice. Coyotes Associate Coach Jim Playfair will fly to Portland next week.
As expected, Treliving said several defenders have been standing out at camp including Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Chris Summers, Michael Stone and Brandon Gormley. Mathieu Brodeur also has turned some heads.
“Mathieu has come to camp in good shape and he’s just played a real steady game,” Treliving said. “He looks more mature - like a guy who spent the majority of the year in the AHL last year.”
Forwards Alex Bolduc, Brett Hextall, Chris Brown and Brendan Shinnimin have played well in the scrimmages, Treliving said. Brown had a hat trick in Monday’s game, and Shinnimin tallied five points (two goals, three assists) in Wednesday’s game.