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Zadina nets overtime winner for Team Howe in camp scrimmage

It was a fitting finish to a high-scoring game at end of development camp

by Dana Wakiji @Dwakiji /

DETROIT -- It was just a scrimmage with two teams of Red Wings prospects but if you were looking for the perfect finish to it, this was it.

Just the person you would expect to be the hero, Filip Zadina (first round, sixth overall, 2018 draft) scored 16 seconds into overtime - on a pass from Michael Rasmussen (first round, ninth overall, 2017 draft) - to give Team Howe a 7-6 comeback victory over Team Lindsay.

"Overtime, it was kind of quick," Zadina said. "Ras, he pass me very well so I just get it and score a goal. It was a pretty good feeling."

Tweet from @DetroitRedWings: .@filip_zadina in overtime. #DRWDC

Said Rasmussen: "If you can get him the puck with two or three feet in front of him, he'll shoot it and he'll have a good opportunity to score. He doesn't need very much room, that's for sure."

Shawn Horcoff, the director of player development, had to be pleased to see Detroit's last two first-round picks combine for the exciting finish.

"You couldn't have asked for any better," Horcoff said. "I thought it especially for the fans, what a great game. We were a little bit worried there when we were down a bunch but the guys turned it up hard and came back."

At one point, Team Lindsay had a 5-1 lead as they got two goals from Jack Adams (sixth round, 162nd overall, 2017 draft), one each from Otto Kivenmaki (seventh round, 191st overall, 2018 draft), Taro Hirose (free agent invitee from Michigan State, scoring on his 22nd birthday) and David Pope (fourth round, 109th overall, 2013 draft).

"It's cool. He definitely doesn't play like he's that small," Rasmussen said of Kivenmaki. "He's a good player, he's got good hands, good skill, he's good one-on-one. I thought he had a really good game and looked really good. Good for him, that's awesome."

But Brady Gilmour (seventh round, 193rd overall, 2017 draft), Mattias Elfstrom (seventh round, 197th overall, 2016 draft), Luke Morgan (free agent invitee from Michigan) scored to help Team Howe draw within one, 5-4, in the third period.

Colt Conrad (free agent invitee from Western Michigan) scored to restore the two-goal lead but Chase Pearson (fifth round, 140th overall, 2015 draft) scored to cut it back to one.

At 10:12 of the third period, Givani Smith (second round, 46th overall, 2016 draft) made multiple efforts at the net, finally pushing the rebound past goaltender Kaden Fulcher to tie the game, 6-6.

"It was really good," Smith said. "It was a big goal, it tied the game. That's my type of game, I'm skilled in front of the net and found the puck loose and just tucked it in."

That set up Zadina for his overtime heroics.

"I was kind of nervous," Zadina said. "I had lots of opportunities to score but I haven't scored, so then it finally came, so I was happy."

Zadina also got to show off his bag of tricks in the post-scrimmage shootout, done just for fun.

"You guys saw it," Horcoff said. "We're happy that he fell to us. He's got an elite skill package. He was dancing out there. Like I said, he's a young kid. He's got to put on some strength but he's got all the skills to be a heck of a player in the league."

Pavel Gogolev (free agent invitee from Peterborough Petes), Joseph Veleno (first round, 30th overall, 2018 draft) and Jonatan Berggren (second round, 33rd overall, 2018 draft) also scored in the shootout.

"His skating is incredible," Horcoff said of Veleno. "He's got a good skill set, too. He's just a guy that you can see out there -- can he become an elite penalty killer with that skill, a guy that's hard to play against, and chip in with offense? He's got a good skill set. There's just a lot of areas in the game that he could influence."

Defensively, Dennis Cholowski (first round, 20th overall, 2016 draft) was matched up against the Zadina-Rasmussen-Smith line most of the game.

"I thought I did pretty well, got my stick on puck and had good body position," Cholowski said. "They were good. Obviously, Zadina is quick, he's going to be a good player, and then Rasmussen and Smitty are good players as well. That's a good line and tough to play against."

Smith grinned at getting to play against his good friend and 2016 draft mate Cholowski.

"It was really fun out there," Smith said, laughing. "Tried to give him a little bump here and there to let him know that it's hockey. We'll joke around after this game. It's nice playing against him for once."

As the game ended and the DJ played the old Who song, "The Kids Are Alright," fans left the building thinking about seeing Zadina, Rasmussen and Smith all playing on a line for the Detroit Red Wings in the not-too-distant future.

"Just the skill. I thought Gio actually played really well and did exactly what we need him to do at the pro level on that line as well," Horcoff said. "It's fun watching skill. You can tell these guys have a bright future. This is hopefully the start of many viewings like that."

For his part, Zadina is not taking it for granted that he will make the Wings out of training camp in the fall.

"What I know is it's going to be very hard for me," Zadina said. "If I play my best and work harder than the other players here, I can make it. We'll see for sure. It's going to be very hard for me because it's a pretty good team.

"I would love to play there but it's going to be lots of work ahead of me."

NOT PLAYING: Goaltenders Filip Larsson (sixth round, 167th overall, 2016 draft) and Keith Petruzzelli (third round, 88th overall, 2017 draft) did not play due to injury.

Also skipping the scrimmage was defenseman Gustav Lindstrom (second round, 38th overall, 2017 draft).

"I'm disappointed that he wasn't playing today," Horcoff said of Lindstrom. "Obviously, coming into camp he tweaked his back a little bit. He'll be fine but I would have liked to have seen him play. He's a guy that really came on the second half of the season. He's in Frolunda, which is a fantastic program. They lost a lot of defensemen this year, so he's going to get a good chance and a lot of opportunity. He's a guy that we're going to monitor closely and spend a lot of time on. He's physical, he skates well, he's got a good first pass. He's got a good little package."

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