More than 2,000 fans came out to Bridgestone Arena Saturday afternoon for the Predators annual Prospects Development Camp Open House. The day got started with the doors opening at 10 a.m., and the used equipment sale at 11 a.m. Fans of all ages, and sizes came out to take their pick at some of the Predators old helmets, shoulder pads, pants, gloves and more.
“It’s an event the season-ticket holders really seem to enjoy,” said Predators Director of Marketing Danny Shaklin. “It was another great turnout today. It’s an event the Predators love to put on, and will continue to put on in the future.”
Following the equipment sale, fans stuck around for an open skate on the Bridgestone ice, leading up to the main event: the prospects scrimmage.
The 32 prospects that have been participating in the week-long development camp were broken up into Team Blue and Team Silver, and competed amongst one another for two 20-minute periods, a 15-minute four-on-four period, a five-minute three-on-three overtime session and a shootout.
With the game ending in a 2-2 tie and overtime solving nothing, the teams competed in an adjusted shootout that allowed every player on both teams to shoot once. Team Silver outscored Team Blue 5-3 in the shootout to take the game by score of 7-5. 2014 draft picks Viktor Arvidsson and Kevin Fiala capped off the shootout with spectacular goals for the Silver club.
Head Coach Peter Laviolette took in the game from the stands and came away impressed by the effort both teams put forward.
“I thought it was a good, competitive game,” Laviolette said. “I thought all the guys worked really hard. It’s so tough for guys to come in during the middle of the summer, after months of being off the ice, but they pushed themselves all week and it showed today.”
Veilleux got the scoring started for Team Silver late in the first period when he fired a one-timer off a face off in the Team Blue zone past unexpecting goaltender Marek Mazanec.
Team Blue responded 3:20 into the second period when defenseman Jaynen Rissling took a shot from the point that beat Devin Williams five-hole.
Team Silver reclaimed the lead when Veilleux took a pass from Saku Maenalanen from behind the net and sniped one past Mazanec glove-side to notch his second of the game 16:18 into the period.
Team Blue came out strong in the third, and tied it up 30 seconds in when Filip Forsberg collected a loose puck in front of the net and sent a quick wrist shot over the glove of Magnus Hellberg.
Team Blue continued to press, outshooting team Silver 13-6 in the third period, but couldn’t beat Devin Williams who replaced Hellberg between the pipes at the 3:05 mark.
Overtime solved nothing despite a flurry of chances on both ends, in part due to the open ice that was created from the three-on-three action.
After a few sub-par attempts, the shootout finally brought the fans to their feet when Arvidsson successfully pulled off a spin-o-rama to put the Team Silver up by one.
“I decided I was going to do that move right before the shootout started,” Arvidsson said. “Johan Alm and I were talking about it and he convinced me to do it. I’ve tried this move two other times and neither of them were successful. I’m glad it worked this time.”
Fiala ended the shootout in style with a move made famous by Peter Forsberg at the 1994 Olympics that beat Mazanec and gave Team Silver the 7-5 win.
“I really enjoyed the game today,” Fiala said. “I’m glad we could perform well for all the fans that came out.”
With the Development Camp now complete, Laviolette reflected on what the camp accomplished.
“It was great for me to finally get to meet all these players and to put names to faces,” Laviolette said. “It was great for the kids to because they got a lot of good coaching. They found out how to train better, how to practice better, how to prepare better and how to be a good professional. All these kids are really going to benefit from this camp down the road.”