TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. – The stands were packed at Centre Ice Arena on Tuesday night as the attendees of this year’s Red Wings development camp squared off in an exhibition match pitting the members of Team Zetterberg against their Team Lidstrom counterparts. Led by their captain Brendan Smith, a veteran of 14 NHL games, Team Lidstrom emerged victorious from what proved to be a highly-entertaining contest, taking the decision by a 6-5 final following a lengthy shootout.
“It was a very good, competitive scrimmage,” said Smith, who scored a goal and two assists. “I really enjoyed it.”
Landon Ferraro, Willie Coetzee and Andreas Athanasiou (two) also scored for Team Lidstrom while Mitch Callahan, Tomas Jurco, Marek Tvrdon, Richard Nedomlel and Martin Frk replied for Team Zetterberg. The game’s lone multi-goal scorer was pleased with how the evening went.
“I got my chances and I made the most out of it,” Athanasiou said. “Overall it was a good game. It was good that we won it. We were all looking forward to today, to get a chance to play. The level of intensity was really good out there and the level of competition was really high.”
Goalies Thomas McCollum (11 saves on 14 shots) and free agent invitee Parker Milner (14 saves on 16 shots) joined forces to pick up the win for Team Lidstrom, while Petr Mrazek (21 saves on 23 shots) and Jake Paterson (17 saves on 20 shots) wound up on the losing side of things despite each making several highlight-reel stops in their 1 ½ period of playing time.
“I felt pretty good,” said Mrazek, who was sensational during a busy opening period. “I haven’t played a game for a while so that made things a bit harder but we had fun out there.”
Mrazek’s strong play helped Team Zetterberg enter the first intermission with the score tied 1-1 despite Team Lidstrom owning a 17-10 lead on the shot clock. After Landon Ferraro wired home a high snap shot to give Team Lidstrom the lead 5:54 into the second period, Team Zetterberg linemates Marek Tvrdon and Martin Frk assisted on each other’s goals just 32 seconds apart in the stanza’s ninth minute, putting their squad up 3-2 in the process. Despite putting up a couple of points, Detroit’s top pick at this year’s NHL Entry Draft felt he could’ve done more.
“I think I can play better,” Frk said after the match. “But this was my first game with these new guys so I’m happy I scored and got an assist.”
A goal by Swift Current Broncos (WHL) import defenseman Richard Nedomlel gave Team Zetterberg a 4-2 advantage near the midway point of the match, with Maple Ridge, BC native Willie Coetzee then pulling Team Lidstrom back to within immediate striking distance of their opponents on a great individual effort. The hard-working winger forced a turnover deep in enemy territory prior to bearing down upon Jake Paterson uncontested and sneaking a backhander by the Saginaw Spirit (OHL) netminder.
Team Lidstrom tied things up at four apiece on a howitzer of a slap shot from Brendan Smith, who one-timed a feed from defensive partner Gleason Fournier past Paterson 4:53 into the third. Athanasiou and Tomas Jurco then exchanged goals, resultantly sending the affair into a shootout. Following nifty tallies from Coetzee (TL) and Jurco (TZ), Ferraro ended the multi-round penalty shot challenge with a well-placed wrist shot, putting the finishing touches on an impressive evening for the 20-year-old forward.
“I’m feeling confident and I wanted to show that I’ve made some strides in my game,” said Ferraro. “I’ve put a lot of work in. I want to get going for the upcoming season. This was the first chance for me to show that and I was happy the way it worked out.”
TEAM LIDSTROM 6 – TEAM ZETTERBERG 5 (Shootout)
TZ – Callahan (Pulkkinen & Glendening), 7:20
TL – Athanasiou (Ferraro), 19:11
TL – Ferraro (Sheahan & Smith), 5:54
TZ – Tvrdon (Frk & Sproul), 8:15
TZ – Frk (Tvrdon), 8:47
TZ – Nedomlel (Sproul), 10:42
TL – Coetzee (unassisted), 13:51
TL – Smith (Fournier) PPG, 4:53
TL – Athanasiou (Smith & Fournier), 13:36
TZ – Jurco (Pulkkinen), 17:52
TL: Coetzee, Ferraro
TL: McCollum (11/14), Milner (14/16)
TZ: Mrazek (21/23), Paterson (17/20)