EDMONTON, AB - Beau Starrett got a fistful of exposure to one of hockey's most heated rivalries during this season's first rookie rendition of the Battle of Alberta on neutral ground in Red Deer.
The 6-foot-5 forward could barely shed his mitts in time to defend himself from a sucker punch delivered by Flames d-man Montana Onyebuchi midway through the second period of Saturday's 1-0 overtime defeat for the Oilers Rookies at the hands of their provincial rivals.
"It was the Battle of Alberta, so the rich history of Calgary and the Oilers going at it," Starrett said on Sunday at Rogers Place following Day 4 of Oilers Rookie Camp. "Obviously I got a big taste of what that rivalry was like at the half-way point of that game, but it was great just getting our feet under ourselves. We didn't get the result we wanted, but overall it was a good game.
"We still have Tuesday's tilt to get redemption."
Video: ROOKIE CAMP | B. Starrett 09.08.19
Starrett was drafted in the third round, 88th overall by the Chicago Blackhawks at the 2014 NHL Draft and played out the following season with the South Shore Kings of the U.S. Premier Hockey League alongside other Oilers prospects Nolan Vesey and Logan Day before four constructive seasons with Cornell University in the NCAA.
After going unsigned by the Blackhawks and becoming a free agent, the path led the 23-year-old towards signing an AHL contract with the Bakersfield Condors this past August, impressing his new bench boss Jay Woodcroft in his first Oilers appearance with his stature, flexibility at wing or centre, and astute faceoff ability over the rough stuff he became involved in.
"The first thing that stands out about him right off the bat is his size. He's a forward that has length to him - another thing you can't teach," Woodcroft said.
"I think last night in the game, I found a player who excelled in the faceoff circle. I didn't feel worried or anxious any time he went out to take a faceoff. He was dominant in that area last night against that team. I moved him around a little bit as a chess piece. I put him on the wall sometimes, I put him up the middle, but I think he competed hard in his first professional action in the rookie game last night."
Beau won't be the only Starrett at the disposal of Woodcroft next season in Bakersfield, as he joins his goaltender brother Shane in the organization after watching him hit new heights in the crease during his first two full professional seasons with the Wichita Thunder of the ECHL and the Condors.
Video: ROOKIE CAMP | Woodcroft 09.08.19
"Obviously having Shane here is key," Beau said. "A lot of guys here know him very well, and obviously he had success the two years he's been here with Wichita being an ECHL All-Star and last year being on the All-Rookie Team with Bakersfield.
"Having him here to show me the ropes and really tell me what's right and what's wrong has really benefitted me. I love Shane to death and he's helped me a lot making this transition easier."
With both brothers being different players but sharing the same Starrett intricacies, Woodcroft was left mulling if two Starrett's will be too much to handle.
"He's a different character," laughed Woodcroft. "They're both unique in their own ways, but they come from a nice family and they're a hockey family. It'll be interesting to see how they progress here going into Main Camp."