As Miranda Lambert sings, word gets around in this small town. A solid crowd of hockey families and professionals taking a long lunch came to Braemar Arena in Edina on Friday afternoon for the first of two Wild’s development camp scrimmages. Scrimmage two is at Xcel Energy Center on Monday. Gate 1 opens at 6 p.m. for the 6:30 p.m. free event.
Team Green, coached by Iowa Wild head coach Kurt Kleinendorst and former Wild player Richard Park, a guest instructor at camp, defeated Team White 4-0. Team White was led by Brad Bombardir and Iowa assistant Steve Poapst.
The crowd wasn’t disappointed, getting plenty of scoring, and hitting players trying to make an impression. Development camps are intriguing because you have players drafted, or signed by the Wild (newly signed free agent defenseman Guillaume Gelinas was terrific), as well as undrafted invitees hoping to one day earn a contract. That list includes Olivier Archambault, who had a goal and an assist.
The first 15 minutes was a true feeling out process - some big hits were laid out though, including draft pick Tanner Faith on Michael Keranen, who was signed out of the Finnish Elite League, where he had 52 points last season. Hunter Warner, a native of Eden Prairie who played for USHL Waterloo and Fargo, also threw a big hit on Brooks Bertsch.
Team White carried the majority of play in the opening half of the first half of the game, too. Alexandre Belanger was able to keep White in it, including a save on Zack Mitchell’s partial breakaway. He also stopped a nifty wraparound by 2014 first-round pick Alex Tuch, who took a pass from 2014 Minnesota Mr. Hockey Avery Peterson.
The goals started coming in bunches then, all from Team Green including a pair of French Canadians. Archambault, in camp on an invite from QMJHL Quebec, scored from Gustav Olofsson, the Wild’s 2013 first-round pick, with 12 minutes left in the first.
“It was good, taking the things we've learned and putting them on the ice,” Olofsson said.
Then came a snipe from Gelinas, the QMJHL’s leading defensive scorer last season, and signed as a free agent July 1. Gelinas took a pass from Adam Gilmour and rifled it top shelf from the left circle. Gelinas is one smooth skater, and he showed his shot is equally as good.
Shortly before intermission, Coon Rapids native Eric Scheid, who plays at Penn State, crashed the net and deposited a Archambault shot that was originally stopped into an open cage.
Reid Duke showed some nice hands from just outside the net for a 4-0 Green lead to start the second half.
Team Green goalies Alexandre Belanger (2013 draft pick) and Brandon Whitney (invitee from Victoriaville of QMJHL) combined for the shutout. In addition to Gelinas, the group of Christian Folin, Matt Dumba, Gustav Olofsson and Christian Soucy stood out on the blue line.
Line combos (approximate, and in no particular order or position):