Most Importantly, All Rookies Shine
This time, he wasn't going to be denied. After having his shot ring off the crossbar with time running out in overtime, Alexei Yashin decided to go a different route in the shootout. Yashin didn't waste any time or give it a second thought. He calmly skated down the ice and fired a low shot past goaltender Tuomas Tarkki for what proved to be the game-winning goal.
The goal capped off a thrilling comeback for the White Team, which rallied from a 3-1 deficit late in the game to beat the Blue, 4-3, in an Intrasquad game at a packed Yarmouth Mariners Centre. Despite Yashin's goal, the real story were the Islanders prospects, which stood out despite the presence of so many NHL veterans in tonight's game.
For one night, the kids were more than all right. Youngsters Robert Nilsson, Jeremy Colliton, Ryan O'Marra and Chris Campoli more than got on the score sheet, they impressed throughout.
The Blue team led 3-1 late in the game, but the White team scored two power play goals less than two minutes apart to tie the game at 3-3. Rookie Blake Comeau scored at 15:22 and Mattias Weinhandl answered 1:11 later to tie the game.
Travis Brigley gave the White squad an early 1-0 lead when he came down the left wing and beat Rick DiPietro 3:37 into the contest. After having several power play chances early in the game, the Blue team finally broke through on the power play as Colliton scored 19 seconds in on Rob Collins' tripping penalty to tie the game at 1-1. Nilsson fired a slap shot from the point that Colliton re-directed past Snow for the goal. The Blue team kept the pressure on Garth Snow, but the veteran goaltender made several point-blank saves, including a glove save on Trent Hunter's shot from the slot.
Rookie defenseman Chris Campoli, who continues to make a case for a spot on the team, gave the Blue team a 2-1 lead 1:52 into the second period. Campoli took a pass from Nilsson in the slot and beat Snow with a wrist shot high to the glove side for the goal.
Midway through the second period, the White team had several great scoring chances during a 5-on-3 power play, but goaltender Rick DiPietro came up with several big saves, including a glove save on Mattias Weinhandl's wrist shot and Oleg Kvasha's slap shot from the bottom of the circle.
Kevin Colley had a chance late in the period to increase the Blue team's lead, but Snow stopped home on a breakaway with 5:30 left in the period to keep the White squad within a goal. But late in the period, the Blue team answered late on Travis Brigley's slashing penalty to increase its lead to 3-1.
The Blue team had a chance to put the game away, but goaltender Wade Dubielewicz, who replaced Garth Snow at the start of the third period, but several saves, including two point-blank chances on shots by Nilsson and Aaron Asham to keep the White squad within two goals.
In overtime, Alexei Yashin had a chance to win the game on a breakaway but his shot hit off the crossbar with 57.8 seconds left. Then during the shootout, Wade Dubielewicz, who is all too familiar with the shootout from playing last season in the AHL, picked up the win in relief as he stopped Jason Blake, Trent Hunter and Nilsson. The only other player for the White team to attempt a shot was Miroslav Satan. Tuomas Tarkki stopped him with a nice pad save. Satan was so impressed, he nodded at his opponent for the night with admiration. Tarkki finished with 12 saves in relief of DiPietro.
Notes: Steve Stirling said before the game that he expects to have new groups in time for Saturday's practice and will begin to form his NHL roster. We will have the complete rosters tomorrow, but have learned that the four D pairings in Group A are Zhitnik/Sopel, Niniimaa/Martinek, Campoli/Lukowich and Gervais/Pettinen...As the dignitaries were announced before the opening face-off, Mike Milbury received a spontaneous and very warm standing ovation from the Yarmouth fans... All of the kids looked good tonight, but Jeremy Colliton especially impressed in his own zone with his shotblocking and grit.
Line Combinations for tonight's game:
Blake Comeau-Alexei Yashin-Miroslav Satan
Mike York-Oleg Kvasha-Mattias Weinhandl
Travis Brigley-Wyatt Smith-Petteri Nokelainen
Steve Reiger-Rob Coillins-Eric Godard
Alexei Zhitnik-Brent Sopel
Janna Niinimaa-Radek Martinek
Dustin Kohn-Tomi Pettinen
Jason Blake-Ryan O'Marra-Trent Hunter
Justin Papineau-Shawn Bates-Sean Bergenheim
Robert Nilsson-Jeremy Colliton-Mark Parrish
Masj Marjamaki-Kevin Colley-Aaron Asham
Chris Campoli-Brad Lukowich
Ryan Caldwell-Allan Rourke
Joel Bouchard-Bruno Gervais
First Period Scoring: 1, White Team, Travis Brigley (power play) (unassisted), 3:37. 2, Blue Team, Jeremy Colliton (Robert Nilsson), 13:23.
Penalties: Blue Team, Campoli (interference), 0:37. White Team, Yashin (high-sticking), 2:09. White Team, York (holding the stick), 3:49. White Team, Godard (slashing), 7:12. White Team, Martinek (tripping), 7:17. Blue Team, Shawn Bates (hooking), 9:12. White Team, Rob Collins (tripping), 13:03. Blue Team, DiPietro (delay of game), 13:34. Blue Team, Masi Marjamaki (hooking), 16:58. White Team, Dustin Kohn (interference), 19:13. White Team, Oleg Kvasha (high-sticking), 20:00.
Second Period Scoring: 3, Blue Team, Chris Campoli (Robert Nilsson, Mark Parrish), 1:52. 4, Blue Team: Trent Hunter-1 (power play) (Jason Blake, Ryan O'Marra), 17:32.
Penalties: White Team, Bench minor (Too many men, served by Eric Godard), 1:12. White Team, Garth Snow (delay of game, served by Travis Brigley), 3:54. Blue Team, Bench minor (too many men, served by Chris Campoli), 5:33. White Team, Janne Niinimaa (unsportsmanlike conduct), 6:38. Blue Team, Kevin Colley (tripping), 9:38. Blue Team, Ryan Caldwell (hooking), 10:00. Blue Team, Ryan Caldwell (interference), 12:19. Blue Team, Ryan Caldwell (hooking), 13:40. White Team, Travis Brigley (slashing), 16:11.
Third Period Scoring: 5, White Team, Mattias Weinhandl-1 (power play)(Oleg Kvasha, Mike York), 15:22. 6, White Team, Blake Comeau-1 (power play) (Alexei Yashin), 16:33.
Penalties: White Team, Bench minor (Too many men, served by Blake Comeau), 4:41. Blue Team, Brad Lukowich (hooking), 8:00. Blue Team, Brad Lukowich (holding), 10:59. Blue Team, Kevin Colley (interference), 13:23. Blue Team, Allan Rourke (interference), 15:16. Blue Team, Chris Campoli (holding), 15:37.
Overtime Scoring: None. Penalties: White Team, Janne Niinimaa (holding), 1:41.
Goaltenders: White- Garth Snow (40:00, 20 saves, 23 shots, 0-0), Wade Dubielewicz (25:00, 15 saves, 15 shots; 1-0). Blue-Rick DiPietro (40:00, 18 saves, 19 shots, 0-0); Tuomas Tarkki (25:00, 12 saves, 14 shots; 0-1).
Referee: Mark Joanette. Linesmen: Steve Miller, Derick Nansen