CALGARY, AB -- It’s the duo that the Calgary Flames fans and management hope to see hit the Scotiabank Saddledome ice as soon as possible.
Down the middle, it’s Sean Monahan – the 2013 first round draft pick who’s projected to be a dominant centre.
On the wing, Johnny Gaudreau – the 2011 fourth rounder who’s hands and skating ability is as smooth as silk.
Fans were shown a slight taste of their abilities at the development camp scrimmage on Saturday, but were given the full review the second scrimmage on Monday when they combined for six points in a 5-3 Team Red win over Team Black.
“I know he’s a great player and I know he’s going to play for a while,” said Gaudreau, the Boston College forward who will head into his third season there as one of the favourites for the 2014 Hobey Baker Award.
“Hopefully I get to play with him someday, he makes me a better player.
“With him on the ice, he’s an extremely talented player and it makes it a lot easier.”
Gaudreau continued with the superlatives about Monahan, saying the group improved from their performance on Saturday.
“At practices, we’ve been clicking pretty well together, so it’s been a good fit for me to play with a good guy like that,” Gaudreau said.
Rounding out the top line with Gaudreau and Monahan was left winger Bryce Van Brabrant, a powerful forward from Quinnipiac University in camp on an amateur tryout.
And it didn’t take long for the top line to start producing.
The trio opened the scoring with Monahan finishing off the play, while the other two added assists.
Flames 2013 sixth round draft choice Tim Harrison added to the Team Red lead, going five-hole on goalie Joni Ortio after he earned the penalty shot following a high sticking call from Sven Baertschi.
Gaudreau added his own goal for Team Red late in the first period, and it appeared the rout was on.
Monahan fired the puck over to Gaudreau who was able to pull off the wrap-around tally on Ortio.
“I don’t know how he knew where I was going but he put it right on the tape and luckily Bryce was in front of the net screening the goalie so I got a nice little wraparound, it was a nice play by our whole line,” Gaudreau said.
Shots were 23-8 for Team Red after 20 minutes, with new Swiss netminder Reto Berra stopping all eight shots he faced.
But Team Black wasn’t going to go away easily, starting with centre Markus Granlund intercepting the pass down low and sniping one past goalie Brody Hoffman.
A few minutes later, a mad scramble in front of Hoffman led to centre Dan O’Donoghue getting credit with the marker to pull Team Black within one.
Unfortunately, that was as close as Team Black would come.
Team Red defenceman John Ramage unleashed a howitzer from the point that got through goalie Laurent Brossoit, with the assists given to Monahan and Gaudreau.
After being held to only eight shots in the first, Team Black peppered the opposing net in the second frame and shots were 33-31 in their favour.
Team Red forward and former Brandon Wheat King Michael Ferland extended their lead to 5-2 early in the second, shoveling home the puck from in close.
Turner Elson, the former captain of the Red Deer Rebels, played like a man possessed in the final 20 minutes for Team Black.
He converted a pass from Josh Jooris seven minutes into the period, danced around Curtis Leonard a few minutes later for another great scoring opportunity, and clanked one off the post in the dying minutes. Add in another post from defenceman John Gilmour and Team Black almost mounted the comeback.
The final practices of development camp will go on Tuesday morning at WinSport starting at 9:00 AM.