Nick Baptiste and Logan Nelson each scored twice to lead Team Blue to a 6-3 victory over Team Gold in the Buffalo Sabres’ annual Blue & Gold Scrimmage on Friday.
The scrimmage, which concluded the club’s three-day development camp, offered the Sabres coaching staff a chance to watch the organization’s prospects in a game situation.
“It was a good couple of days,” Sabres coach Ron Rolston said. “I was excited. Since I’ve been here, it was probably the best development camp in terms of quality of players – speed, skill, the quality of defensive corps that we have out there.”
Alex Lepkowski had a goal and an assist for Team Gold. Daniel Catenacci and J.T. Compher tallied for Team Gold as well.
| Zemgus Girgensons |
Zemgus Girgensons finished the night with a goal and two assists, both of which came on Baptiste’s goals. Phil Varone scored the other goal for Team Blue.
“It was a fun game,” Girgensons said. “The last two periods were pretty intense with some good hits.”
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The two teams weren’t afraid to get physical. Defensemen like Lepkowski and Matt MacKenzie were throwing the body around early. Nikita Zadorov, Buffalo’s second first-round pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, laid a huge hit on Brad Navin at center ice during the second period. Zadorov also collected two assists.
Nathan Lieuwen started for Team Gold and made the save of the first period, stopping Girgensons on a one-timer from inside the paint. Baptiste found Girgensons from behind the net, but Lieuwen kicked out his left pad to deny Girgrensons.
Penalty shots replaced power plays in this scrimmage and Lieuwen stopped Girgensons on the only attempt of the first period. Lepkowski scored his goal on a penalty shot late in the second period.
Team Blue skated into the locker room after the first period with a 1-0 lead after Phil Varone scored with 3:40 to play in the period. Catenacci tied it up for Team Gold at the 8:46 mark of the second period, but by the end of the period, Team Blue held a 3-2 advantage.
Team Blue came out to score three quick goals to start the third period, with Baptiste’s second of the night and Girgensons’ only tally coming seconds apart.
“It’s a great group of guys, especially I liked our [team],” Girgensons said. “We had a good grind and good skill. We put that all together and you see the score.”
The night ended with a shootout. Players from both teams got to show off their breakaway skills and Team Blue once again came away with the victory, this time by a 3-2 score. Girgensons, Eric Locke and Jonathan Parker scored for Team Blue. Justin Bailey and Chad Ruhwedel scored for Team Gold.
Bailey, a native of Buffalo, drew applause from the hometown crowd during his shootout attempt and dropped a few jaws. While walking in, he kicked the puck with his left skate to his stick and then reached over to his backhand to beat goaltender Cal Petersen.
“I struggled a little bit in the shootout in practice and I figured, why not try a move that works sometimes when I just messing around. Luckily it worked out,” Bailey said.