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Team White Upends Team Black, 4-2, in Prospect Development Scrimmage

by Staff Writer / Anaheim Ducks

By Kyle Shohara

In what’s becoming a Fourth of July tradition, the Ducks once again held their annual prospect development scrimmage inside The Rinks – Anaheim ICE. Fans flocked to the practice facility and packed the stands to see the club’s top prospects, which included all six of its picks from the 2016 NHL Draft held two weeks ago in Buffalo.

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First-round selections Max Jones and Sam Steel both took part in the scrimmage, but on opposite squads. Jones (1st round, 24th overall), the rugged left wing from London of the Ontario Hockey League, skated on Team Black’s top line with center Julius Nattinen (2nd round, 59th overall in 2015) and right wing Nick Sorensen (2nd round, 45th overall in 2013). Steel (1st round, 30th overall) centered a line with fellow 2016 draftee Jack Kopacka (4th round, 93rd overall) and Deven Sideroff (3rd round, 84th overall in 2015).

When all was said and done, Team White defeated Team Black by a 4-2 score, on goals from Ondrej Kase, Tyler Morley (free agent signee), Nick Ritchie and Joel L’Esperance (college invite). Team Black’s goals came from Landon Smith (college invite) and Kalle Kossila.

“This was a great way to finish it off,” said Steel, on concluding the four-day development camp with a scrimmage. “It’s good to get a win. Feeling a little rusty, but a great way to finish off the weekend in front of great fans. It was good to get to know the players and staff. Great experience overall.”

The packed house didn’t go unnoticed among the players this morning, including Tyler Soy, Anaheim’s seventh-round selection in the recent draft. “To see the fans come out and support us for a simple little scrimmage was amazing,” he said. “It’s a great place to play hockey.”

“For a scrimmage with a bunch of rookies in July, it’s a pretty awesome experience to play in front of,” said Ritchie, no stranger to this development camp. “It’s not the high-level hockey they’re used to seeing, but it gives them a little taste before the season starts.”

Ritchie’s professional experience with the Ducks and San Diego Gulls showed on the ice during the two 25-minute halves, as the big left winger used his 6-2, 232-pound frame to create space for linemates Terry and Kase. “This year, I can come in and really push to be a full-time NHLer,” said Ritchie. “That’s my goal. It’s always going to be my goal. Until I do that, I won’t be satisfied. Once you do that, there’s something else you want to be. You always have to keep pushing to get better. That’s what I’m doing this summer.”

In addition to the scrimmage, the four-day camp included power skating clinics as well as off-ice instruction, such as the importance of nutrition and proper social media practices, to name a few. With development camp now over, the prospects will now return to their summer homes with specially tailored nutritional recommendations, and a better understanding of what it means to be a professional hockey player.

“We picked up little tips and tricks from power skating, and in the workouts, we worked on proper warmups, cool downs and technique” said Soy. “I can use that back home in training. Stuff we’ve done every day, you can take back and use, and hopefully be able to come back better for camp.”

“It was a fun few days,” said Ritchie. “Always a fun week for the guys that come out. I’m looking forward to the season.”

The trio of Ritchie, Terry and Kase was arguably the best line of the scrimmage. Ritchie’s pro experience was clearly evident, especially when it came to making quick decisions with the puck. Terry, who attended prospect camp last year, is coming off a strong freshman campaign with Denver University, and appears to be taller this time around. Kase buzzed around the front of the net and opened roughly eight minutes into the scrimmage.

Although Jones didn’t get on the scoresheet, his line with Nattinen and Sorensen was perhaps the fastest of them all. All gifted skaters, Jones’ speed was noteworthy, especially going north-south. Sorensen, who’s been plagued by injuries the past couple of years, showed a great first step and was explosive with the puck.

Steel didn’t let his smaller stature (5-11, 177 pounds) hold him back, as he routinely held his own with Kopacka and Sideroff flanking him. He routinely got into the dirty areas and showed good vision when he had the puck. Steel posted 23 goals and 70 points in 72 games for the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League last season.

Team White lines
Nick Ritchie – Troy Terry – Ondrej Kase
Jack Kopacka – Sam Steel – Deven Sideroff
Joe Gambardella – Tyler Morley – Joel L’Esperance
Scott Conway

Marcus Pettersson – Josh Mahura
Keaton Thompson – Matthew Berkovitz
Vince Pedrie – Matt Kiersted

Kevin Boyle
Cale Morris

Team Black lines
Max Jones – Julius Nattinen – Nick Sorensen
Brent Gates, Jr. – Kalle Kossila – Grant Besse
Alex Dostie – Tyler Soy – Landon Smith

T.J. Fergus – Jacob Larsson
Matt Murphy – Steven Ruggiero
Brandon Crawley – Darian Skeoch

Collin Delia
Trevin Kozlowski
Matt Murphy – Steven Ruggiero
Brandon Crawley – Darian Skeoch

Collin Delia
Trevin Kozlowski

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