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SCRIMMAGE RECAP: Group A 3, Group B 3

The Oilers take the ice at Rogers Place for their first inter-squad game

by Meg Tilley @MegsTilley / EdmontonOilers.com

Fast. That was the pace that was set from the get-go as Group A and Group B took to the Rogers Place rink for a 5-on-5 inter-squad game with two 30-minute halves and a stint of 3-on-3 overtime. 

With both sides looking to make an impression that they are ready to fill one of the 23 roster spots, the intensity was quick from the start. 

"It was good, I think there was a little bit of a feeling-out process at the beginning, you started to see things were getting a little more physical in the second half, guys were getting their feet under them," said Oilers forward Matt Hendricks.

Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot took the net to start for Group A, while Jonas Gustavsson took the spot between the pipes for Group B. 

Cherry picking Group A's defensive zone, Group B forward Ryan Hamilton capitalized on an opportunity in Group A's defensive zone with a breakaway that saw the forward deke Talbot and slide the puck into the net for a 1-0 lead.

The chippier the play, the more likely the players ended up in the penalty box, which only enhanced the understanding of how hard each player was working throughout the course of the scrimmage. 

"You could tell a lot of guys, we're all thinking, thinking too much out there, trying to think the system instead of just playing and reacting," said Hendricks. "It was a lot sloppier than where we want it to be, but…we're on that learning curve right now." 

With less than four minutes remaining in the first half, Group A tied it up on a scramble in front of Gustavsson's crease. 

But celebrations were short-lived when Oilers defensive prospect Ben Betker ripped a shot from the top of the circle, just over Talbot's glove with 20 seconds remaining in the first.

At the start of the second half, each team changed their goaltender with Laurent Brossoit taking up residence in the crease for Group B and Eetu Laurikainen for Group A.

Early into the play, Oilers forward Anton Lander scored the equalizer on a wraparound, tucking the puck underneath Brossoit's pad.

Around the 20-minute mark, Group B forward Jujhar Khaira went five-hole from the slot as he was falling to his knees, giving his team a 3-2 lead.

Trailing by one, opportunities came throughout the second frame for the Group A forward line that had Jordan Eberle, Drake Caggiula and Milan Lucic together. It would be a cross-ice feed from Kris Versteeg to Eberle, who one-timed it into the net, that would earn Group A the 3-3 equalizer.

Though the game moved on to five minutes of 3-on-3 overtime, neither team was able to secure the game-winner, ending in a 3-3 tie game.

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