YELLOWKNIFE, NWT – After getting blanked on both Friday and Saturday in scrimmages, Team Blue finally got a measure of revenge on Sunday by defeating Team White 7-3 on the final day of Edmonton Oilers Rookie Camp in Yellowknife. Liam Reddox
led the way with a pair of goals for Team Blue with Andrew Cogliano potting an assist on each marker.
“I think it opened up a bit today,” said Cogliano. “As the week went along I got a lot better. It’s all coming into place for myself, getting used to the game and the guys.”
While physical play was in abundance all weekend and there were plenty of fights there were no penalties called until the final day and as a result very little special teams play.
Seven minutes into the second period of the two-period affair Theo Peckham
upended Fredrik Johansson on the rush and put Team Blue on the power play. From there, Cogliano’s line went to work.
After generating chances and keeping the play in Team White’s end, Liam Reddox
scored for Team Blue.
“Cogs made a nice play along the boards and got it out to the point. Matt Pepe just put it off the back boards there and I had an open net,” said Reddox. The goal made it a 5-2 game, effectively blowing it open after Team White was starting to get back into it.
30 seconds later, Vitaly Karamnov banged a Troy Bodie rebound in behind Dubnyk to close the gap to two goals once again at 5-3. Karamnov had a solid outing after missing the first day of camp due to injury.
“We played in Everett one week ago and I injured my back. I’m having some ice on my back and it hurts but I need to show my game,” he said.
Having had little experience in the North American style, he seemed to adapt well despite the physical tone set in rookie camp.
“The game here is very different – a more physical game and more skating,” Karamnov noted.
The two-goal advantage was short lived as Johansson scored to make it 6-3.
Team Blue potted their seventh and final marker on a great three-way passing play. Rohlfs moved the puck up to Cogliano who spotted Reddox open. Reddox wrested it from the left circle past Fisher for his second of the day.
“Cogs got his feet moving, drove wide and I just came into the middle. He fed me wide open and I found a hole,” said Reddox.
The winger played in Stockton last season but has so far looked destined to move up the ladder in camp. The Oilers coaching staff gave him a vote of confidence right from the start, putting him on a line with Cogliano.
“Cogs is a skilled player. You give him the puck and he’s going to make something happen,” Reddox said. “It’s real nice to play with him. That second period he set me up nicely.”
Reddox knows it’s still early but heading into main camp, he’s put himself in a favourable position.
“Coming here, my expectations are to stay here. If that doesn’t happen then Springfield’s the next option but I don’t want to look too far forward.”
Like the first two scrimmage contests, this one also started with a physical tone. Nine minutes in, Geoff Paukovich and Charlie Kronschnabel dropped the mitts, battling to a draw.
Next up, the packed house at the Yellowknife Multiplex were treated to a rematch of Saturday’s bout when Theo Peckham
and Adam Huxley went at it. While Huxley got the better of Peckham on Saturday, the defenceman may have had a slight edge today. It was another spirited bout and got the crowd excited.
After being blanked on both Friday and Saturday, Team Blue raced out to a three-goal lead after Justin Chwedoruk, Jordan Foreman and Jacob Micflikier each dented the twine. Foreman’s goal in particular was a beauty with the London Knights product finishing off a great three-way passing play with a soft redirection past Fisher.
"The players really represented themselves and represented the organization well up here," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish at the conclusion of the Yellowknife rookie camp. "I really feel the players, their presence up here and the way they conducted themselves really made a difference to a lot of people up here. We had a lot of kids go through the hotel and I thought it was really worthwhile - not only the experience on the ice but also off the ice with going to the hospitals and the schools."
MacTavish also felt the on-ice portion was to be applauded.
"i was really happy with the hockey. I thought it was competitive and I think it's going to establish a level of intensity," he said. "That's a pretty major accomplishment for young guys to come in here and establish a level of intensity that you hope the veterans are able to live up to when we go to the main camp."
This camp was also different in the fact that the scrimmages were far from a free-for-all. With a 0-0 draw on Saturday and still some good defensive plays today, MacTavish was impressed by this.
"There was good structure on the ice - more structure than I've seen, maybe ever from a rookie camp. We got the physical play, we had the fights and commitment physically. I hope the main camp continues on this theme.".
NOTES: Glenn Fisher went the distance for Team White today as Bryan Pitton was nursing an injury suffered in Saturday’s shootout demonstration.