By Kyle Shohara
Fans once again packed the stands inside THE RINKS – Anaheim ICE this afternoon to watch the Ducks battle it out in an intrasquad scrimmage on Day 4 of training camp.
Today’s scrimmage featured groups A (White) and C (Black) in a highly physical matchup with both teams not shying away from laying the body. Team Black’s Matt Beleskey and Team White’s Nolan Yonkman were seen jawing at one another throughout the scrimmage, and came close several times to dropping the gloves.
Chris Wagner scored the game’s first goal on a wrist shot from the left circle that beat goaltender Jonas Hiller. Ryan Horvat increased Team Black’s lead to 2-0 on a nice centering pass from John Kurtz, but Team White’s Dustin Penner would cut the lead in half on a shot that beat John Gibson up high shortly before the period expired.
Yonkman tied the game on a wrister from the point that snuck through traffic minutes into the second period. However, Peter Holland regained the lead for Team Black after beating netminder Etienne Marcoux over the shoulder. Wagner extended Team Black’s lead to 4-2 on his second goal of the game.
Yonkman got White back to within a goal on his tip in front with under a minute to play, but it was Team Black who came out with a 4-3 victory.
“It was intense,” said Team Black defenseman Hampus Lindholm. “Everyone wants to impress and do their best. We tried to play the way the coaches wanted us to do.”
Lindholm’s play during the scrimmage impressed head coach Bruce Boudreau. “I thought that was the best I’ve seen him play so far,” Boudreau said. “He’s got a couple gears in him, as far as speed goes. He jumps into the play well, and today he was a real factor.”
Another standout player was Wagner, who tallied two of Black’s four goals today. “He was very good,” Boudreau said. “I liked him last year, I like him this year. He’s a solid worker bee. If you look at his college stats, he had very good offensive numbers. It’s no surprise he scores a couple goals here and there.”
Shea Theodore took part in his first scrimmage of main camp, and the 26th overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft found out what it’s like to play against bigger, stronger competition.
“It was definitely a lot faster and stronger,” he said, of today’s scrimmage. “I was just trying to adjust my style of game, and I felt like I got more comfortable as the game went on.”
Theodore says he’s focusing on getting bigger and stronger to handle bigger, stronger competition. “The weight of these guys are 215, 220, for some of the bigger guys,” he said. “You’ve got to be a lot stronger to handle them.”
“He’s a young guy that’s getting better,” said Boudreau, on Theodore. “He’s taking it in, he’s like a sponge. He’s getting better. He’s going to be a really good prospect.”
One of the benefits for younger players at training camp is the opportunity to learn from veterans. And for Theodore, that veteran influence comes from the hulking 6-foot-6 defenseman Yonkman.
“[Yonkman] said in his draft year , I was four years old,” Theodore said, with a laugh. “He was helping me out during the game quite a bit with little tips here and there. Anything from the older guys really helps.”
ON-ICE SESSIONS CONTINUE TOMORROW
The Ducks will take the ice at 10 a.m. and follow with a 12 p.m. scrimmage tomorrow. All times are tentative, so fans are encouraged to visit AnaheimDucks.com for updates. The remainder of the club’s practice schedule will be announced at a later date.
Sunday, Sept. 15: Practice 10 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.; Scrimmage: 12 p.m.
Monday, Sept. 16: Anaheim vs. Phoenix, 7 p.m. at Honda Center
Tuesday, Sept. 17: Anaheim vs. Los Angeles, 7 p.m. at Honda Center
Wednesday, Sept. 18: Anaheim at Colorado, 6 p.m. PDT at Pepsi Center
THE RINKS - Anaheim ICE presented by Honda is located at 300 West Lincoln Avenue in Anaheim (one mile east of the 5 freeway off the Lincoln Ave. exit). Parking is available in two separate structures adjacent to the facility.