Five thousand two hundred and thirty five Islanders fans were treated to a thrilling finish in the 2011 Blue and White Scrimmage and Skills Competition tonight.
, the Islanders fifth overall selection in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, brought the house down with a, between-the-legs, spinning, backhanded shot in the breakaway portion on the skills competition.
“Someone told me to put the puck through my legs and I thought I’d take it to a new level,” Strome said. “I’m glad it worked. I almost got poke-checked, but I found a way to get it in and I’m just happy the fans liked it.”
|Ryan Strome #8 of the New York Islanders smiles during the Blue v White Game on July 16, 2011 at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) |
Strome helped the Blue Team to a 9-8 victory, which required a sudden-death shootout to decide the outcome. One of Strome’s linemates on the night and fellow fifth overall selection Nino Niederreiter
ended the competition with a five-hole winner through the legs of 6’6’’Anders Nilsson
Before Niederreiter’s decider, there were four competitions between the Blue and White Team that each had their own flare.
The skills competition began with the Hardest Shot. Each team sent out three players to see who could inflict the most pain on a piece of rubber and the bright white twine.
Last month’s second-round draft pick, Scott Mayfield
, started things off by blasting an 89 MPH shot for the Blue Team, but the White Team’s Andrey Pedan
quickly surpassed the mark with a 91 MPH shot. Matt Donovan
sealed the point for the White Team with the hardest shot of the evening at 95 MPH.
In the Rapid Fire session, each team had two players take snap shots on the opposing goalie. Nilsson stole the show for the White Team, stopping all six of the shots he faced and securing the point for his team.
“I just tried to be square on the shots,” Nilsson said. “I knew they were going to come fast, so I just tried to keep my eye on the puck and this time, it went my way.”
The White Team led 8-5 with two events remaining and three points still up for grabs. The next contest was a shootout where Strome started push for a Blue Team comeback. His crowd-pleasing snipe left the Blue Team two points out with two points still on the table. Before the final event, everyone in the arena – including the players – were still trying to figure out what exactly Strome did on the ice.
|Ryan Strome #8, Nino Niederreiter #25 and Krill Kabanov #37 of the New York Islanders look on during the skills competition on July 16, 2011 at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) |
, one of Strome’s linemates on the night, said Strome told him he had something up his sleeve before he skated out to center ice.
“It was unbelievable,” Kabanov said. “Honestly, it was something crazy. I have no idea how he did it. He told me he was going to do it, and I asked, ‘Are you sure you’re going to do that?’”
While Kabanov and just about everyone else were trying to figure how Strome scored that goal, the final event began. The Team Breakaway event would decide the outcome of the entire night. If the Blue Team won, a sudden-death shootout would take place, but if the White Team won, it was game over.
Chris Rawlings, Blue Team goaltender, made several keys saves in the final event, giving his team a chance to win.
“When it comes to the skills competition, it’s all about having some fun with it,” Rawlings said. “There is some pretty good talent out there, so it’s nice to see that I can play with them.”
Niederreiter scored the night’s final goal on a sudden-death breakaway. The Blue Team came out victorious, but both teams showed fans why the future is looking so bright for Islanders hockey.
Strome's highlight video: