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On the third day of training camp, the Carolina Hurricanes held their annual Red-White scrimmage, the highlight of the 17th annual Caniac Carnival at PNC Arena.
The scrimmage boasted a young contingent, showcasing the youth that are currently fighting for spots with the big club. Team White edged Team Red 3-2 in the two-period match, with Sergey Tolchinsky scoring the game-deciding goal on a penalty shot.
"I thought there was good energy. I thought the guys played hard. I watched several times through the neutral zone, some of the things we've been working on over the last couple of days, and they seem to grasp the concepts pretty quickly," assistant coach Steve Smith said. "Good skill, good skating, defensemen joining the rush. There was a lot of good things. I felt like it was a very positive step."
In a scrimmage that skewed toward the inexperienced, it was those with experience in the NHL, however limited that may be, that stood above the rest. The line of Phil Di Giuseppe, Derek Ryan and Brock McGinn was a force for Team Red. McGinn opened the scoring in the second period with a backhand that beat Alex Nedeljkovic and evened the score at one.
"I felt like he skated really well," Smith said of McGinn. "He's been through this a few times, so I'm sure there were no nerves with him. He's a guy who needs to have a good showing in camp. He's a guy who has an opportunity to make our team. If he continues to skate the way he has, I think there will be a lot of good things for him."
Then it was Di Giuseppe who scored on a penalty shot to give his team the abbreviated 2-1 lead. Team White's Andrew Poturalski drew the score even at 2-2 with a goal from in between the circles.
"It was fun playing with Sergey. He sees the ice really well and has great vision," Poturalski said. "It was pretty fun. Brownie was great too. He works hard and gets us pucks. It was a great line, and we had fun."
When Tolchinsky scored the game-winning goal late in the second period, it was just another day and another scrimmage that the diminutive forward was making his presence known on the offensive size of the puck.
"I'm preparing for these things like it's an important game, and that was a really important game for me. The [front office] was watching, and you have to show them what you brought over the summer," Tolchinsky said. "I'm just trying to play my game, work hard, play smart and try to create offense. I think I played well."
"We saw some skill," Smith said. "I thought Tolchinsky was really good today. He made a lot of plays. The bigger lines got the puck in deep and got a bit of a grind going in the offensive zone."
The scrimmage was physical at times, as well. Josh Wesley gave Poturalski a good shot in the corner. Late in the game, Brendan Woods crushed Tyler Ganly along the end boards. Ganly had to be helped off, and Smith said he was dealing with an upper-body injury.
Camp Roster Trimmed, Preseason Match-Ups Next
Following the conclusion of Sunday's Red-White scrimmage, the Hurricanes trimmed their camp roster by seven players, returning forwards Hudson Elynuik, Steven Lorentz and Spencer Smallman, defensemen Noah Carroll and Ben Gleason and goaltenders Callum Booth and Jeremy Helvig to their respective junior clubs whose seasons have already begun.
The Hurricanes' roster now stands at 53 players. Forwards Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen, who returned from the World Cup of Hockey on Friday, will begin skating with the team on Monday.
The Canes will open their preseason slate on Monday in Washington and will follow it up on Tuesday with a tilt in Tampa Bay.
"Guys are trying to earn spots right now," Smith said. "You see guys and certain things that they're doing that are real impressive."