Sens fans got a glimpse of the future on Thursday night as the team's top prospects took part in Development Camp's annual scrimmage in front of a packed house at the Kanata Recreation Complex.
With new faces like Lassi Thomson, Shane Pinto, Mads Sogaard and the other members of the Senators' 2019 NHL Draft class in action for the first time alongside the rest of the team's skilled prospects, fans were treated to a high-paced contest that ultimately needed a shootout to decide a winner.
"I thought the kids worked hard and competed hard tonight," said Sens chief amateur scout Trent Mann after the game. "There wasn't as much structure to the play obviously since most of the lines and pairings had never played together before but it was nice to see some of our older prospects showcase their development as well as get a first look at the players we drafted last weekend."
Team Red jumped out to a 2-0 lead midway through the scrimmage after goals from Angus Crookshank and Olle Alsing and looked to control the play early on with a strong forecheck that resulted in some costly turnovers for Team White. Crookshank, who was a standout in last year's scrimmage as well, credited his team's mindset for the quick start.
"I'm a competitive kid and I always have been," said Crookshank following the scrimmage. "I think our team helped create a competitive environment tonight and everyone thrived off of it."
Team White answered back before the end of the second period when Drake Batherson fired a wrist shot past Joey Daccord after an offensive zone face-off win to get his squad on the board. Batherson then chipped in with a slick pass to find Jonathan Aspirot for the game-tying goal in the third period.
"It's the middle of June so it's tough to be in game shape," said Batherson. "I haven't played a game since the middle of April so it took a while for the legs to get going."
Despite his offensive production in the second half, Batherson would come up short in the shootout, along with Team White teammate Rudolfs Balcers, as Sogaard was perfect on the two attempts he faced.
"Shootouts are one of the things I'm going to focus on this summer," Batherson said post-game. "I wasn't the best at them last season and I want to improve so heading into the summer I'm looking to get better at those."
On the other side, Max Veronneau and Vitaly Abramov each found the back of the net on their attempts clinching the victory for Team Red on Thursday night.
"It's always nice to get the win and you hate to lose in any game," Crookshank said. "Tonight it was bragging rights on the line so it was good to get that win."
Development Camp continues tomorrow before wrapping up on Sunday and the Senators will try something different this year as a smaller, more focused group will be selected to take part in the remaining days.
"The players that are sticking with us through the weekend are guys that will mostly play at the pro level for us next season or are in that next wave of professional players for the Ottawa Senators," explained Mann. "We just want to make sure that they're dialed in and ready so they can prepare themselves over the summer to make sure that when they arrive in September that they're ready to go and compete for a spot."
Watch all three periods of the scrimmage.