It took a little longer than they perhaps would have liked, but the members of Team Hedman concluded the final day of the Lightning’s 2012 Development Camp by hoisting the championship trophy of the highly esteemed 3-on-3 tournament on Saturday at the Ice Sports Forum in Brandon.
The squad, consisting of 2012 first-round pick Slater Koekkoek, Vladislav Namestnikov, Nikita Nesterov and Cedric Paquette defeated Team St. Louis 2-1 in a shootout to claim the camp’s top prize, which was presented by featured guest and Lightning forward Dana Tyrell at center ice following the tournament.
“I’m glad we won it,” said Namestnikov, now a two-time camp champion. “We had a good team, and honestly I don’t think any of us wanted to lose, so it’s pretty cool.”
The championship game was the third consecutive contest at the conclusion of the day to go into extra time, and the second to feature a shootout. With the team’s knotted at one goal apiece, Koekkoek, selected with the 10th overall pick at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft two weeks ago, slipped a shot through the legs of goaltender Pat Nagle for the tournament-winner.
Vladislav Namestnikov, Slater Koekkoek, Nikita Nesterov, and Cedric Paquette take home bragging rights after winning the camp 3-on-3 tournament.
“It was an awesome experience,” Koekkoek said. “We got off to a slow start on the day, but made it to the final, and it was cool to win it and go out on top. I don’t think I could have asked for a better way to end camp.”
The championship matchup proved to be quite the turnaround from the tournament’s early stages on Friday, when Team St. Louis found itself at the bottom of the standings with no wins, three losses and zero standings points.
Team Hedman, meanwhile, wrapped up action on Friday on top of the group with five standings points, and simply continued Saturday right where they left off, winning the tournament championship.
Through two days of tournament action, Paquette emerged as the camp’s 3-on-3 scoring leader, recording seven goals and nine points, although his point total was matched by three others, including Jake Dotchin, Andrej Sustr and Tanner Richard.
Dotchin led all attendees over the two days with 23 shots on goal, and also ranked second among all skaters throughout the tournament for goals with five, while Sustr was right behind him with four.
Andrey Vasilevskiy, Friday’s 3-on-3 standout goaltender, did not attend camp Saturday due to an early flight back home to Russia.