By Kyle Shohara
Despite this being the first day back after a holiday weekend, it was another packed house at THE RINKS – Anaheim ICE for the second – and final – scrimmage highlighting the weeklong Ducks prospect development camp.
And for the second time in a row, Team Black came out victorious, this time by a 5-2 score. Altered lineups saw Saturday’s dominant trio composed of Nick Ritchie, Troy Terry and Stefan Noesen split up in today’s 40-minute session, with Ritchie on Black and the latter two on White.
But today was all about college invite (and Laguna Niguel native) Dennis Kravchenko, who recorded a hat trick in Team Black’s victory. Kravchenko was Brandon Montour’s teammate at UMass this past season, recording 10 goals and 33 points in 36 games as a freshman for the Minutemen. He finished fifth in the nation in freshman scoring and paced the Minutemen with 23 assists.
“I had great linemates and a great team,” Kravchenko said. “Things came easy and the jitters were all out.”
Kravchenko came to development camp as the first freshman to lead UMass in scoring since 2007-08 and just the third in the program’s Hockey East era. The 21-year-old admitted he didn’t feel any added pressure as one of a handful of invites at development camp.
“You try to showcase yourself and make sure you’re working hard, but you’re not as worried as the other guys who have contracts,” Kravchenko said. “You just come in, work your butt off and hopefully do well.”
Kravchenko’s first goal of the scrimmage tied the game at 1-1 shortly after junior invite Chad Heffernan gave Team White an early 1-0 lead. Team White regained the lead on a goal from free agent Matt Berry, who skated in 29 games at Michigan State before turning pro with the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League.
The lead didn’t last long, however, as Kravchenko finished the first half with his second goal of the scrimmage.
Julius Nattinen, Anaheim’s second-round choice in the 2015 NHL Draft, gave Team Black its first lead of the game in the opening minutes of the second half, and junior invite CJ Garcia increased the lead to two on a seeing-eye point shot.
Kravchenko completed his three-goal effort with an empty-net tally, giving Team Black a 5-2 lead.
Perhaps the best moment of the scrimmage occurred just prior to puck drop, when Nattinen led the group onto the ice for warmups. Unfortunately for him, no one joined, leaving the 18-year-old sheepishly smiling as he took a solo lap around the ice.
“My first camp, I was always the one who had to go out there,” said 22-year-old Stefan Noesen, who today skated on a line with Terry and Nicolas Kerdiles. “It’s a little fun that we have, and it gets their nerves away.”