|"Hearing from Todd Marchant and Bruce (Boudreau), you just have to keep working at it," Wagner said. "You have to stay in great shape to play this game. The sky is the limit. You don’t want to set any low goals for yourself.” |
Working hard through drills on and off the ice since conditioning camp began last week, the 30 Ducks prospects on hand finally got the taste of game action on Monday morning at The Rinks – Anaheim Ice.
Hundreds of onlookers watched a fast-paced games between two squads split up in black and white jerseys. Some of those in the crowd were actually related to forward Nicolas Kerdiles, whose penalty shot goal with 11:45 left in the second of two 20-minute periods held up as the game-winner in a 4-1 victory for the Black team.
Photo Gallery of Scrimmage
Video Recap of Scrimmage
“Bigger guys and stronger guys make me work harder and battle harder in the corners,” said Kerdiles, an Irvine native selected by Anaheim in the second round of the 2012 NHL Draft. “When I’m playing against guys like that, I play my best hockey. It’s really fun and exciting. I had my family here, except for one of my sisters who couldn’t make it because she was at work. I had a lot of friends from my old school come out. They’ve never really gotten to see me play.”
Chris Wagner was the lone player to get on the scoreboard in the first period, as his backhander found the back of the net to give the Black team and early 1-0 lead. The 21-year-old has done well at conditioning camp in the past, scoring four goals in last season’s lone scrimmage. “It obviously feels great to get a goal,” he said. “I don’t know what happens out here, I’ve kind of found some skill.”
That skill was also on display last year for Wagner at Colgate, where he enjoyed a breakthrough sophomore season. He tied for the ECAC lead with 34 assists and was second in the league with 51 points (only trailing linemate Austin Smith). That production more than doubled his previous marks in those categories from his freshman season.
“It definitely clicked for me in my second year,” said Wagner, a fifth round pick of the Ducks in 2010. “I found my game and it worked out well. Hearing from Todd Marchant and Bruce (Boudreau), you just have to keep working at it. You have to stay in great shape to play this game. The sky is the limit. You don’t want to set any low goals for yourself.”
With no power plays being awarded in the scrimmage, any infractions were instead followed by penalty shots, and Andrew O’Brien was the first player to take advantage. The 2012 fourth round pick connected on his attempt for the White squad and briefly tied the game at 1-1 early in the second period. Already enjoying his first experience with the Ducks, getting the goal was an added bonus for the defenseman.
|“It is such a good level of play and everyone is trying to prove what they can do,” Roy said. “I just try to go out there and do what I do best. I think I did well today, but I just want to keep working hard." |
“The first NHL camp, it’s been great,” O’Brien said. “I’m just taking it all in right now and trying to learn from some of the veterans here. We’ve been working hard all week. It was a pretty fast game and it got a little chippy at times. There were some big hits. That is how the game is supposed to be played. (The goal) was probably some of my offensive skill from when I played forward a couple of years ago. It was a little bounce off his glove. That was pretty exciting for me.”
Beginning with Kerdiles’ tally, the Black team took over the game down the stretch. Another 2012 pick, fourth round selection Kevin Roy seemed to be in the middle of the action throughout the scrimmage. It paid off for the reigning USHL Player of the Year, as he beat Igor Bobkov to push the score to 3-1. William Karlsson, a 2011 second round pick, added an empty net tally to finish off the scoring.
“It is such a good level of play and everyone is trying to prove what they can do,” Roy said. “I just try to go out there and do what I do best. I think I did well today, but I just want to keep working hard. Being on the ice with those guys makes you better. Every time I step on, I just want to get better with their help playing against and with those players.”