It took a greasy goal and about 50 minutes for Team White to find its groove against Team Green in front of 6,500 fans at the first scrimmage of Minnesota Wild Development Camp.
Trailing 4-1 much of the night, Team White rallied with three goals in the final five minutes to tie the scrimmage in the final seconds, before outscoring Team Green in a full-team shootout, 6-4.
"Everybody was trying to figure out the tempo and where guys were going,” said Team White defenseman Steven Kampfer. "It was a tricky situation, but once everybody figured out where they were going, it sped up pretty quick."
Goals by Jason Zucker, Bobby Farnham, Marshall Everson and John Draeger put green ahead by three midway through the first half (the teams played a pair of 30 minute, running-time halves). Nothing changed for much of the second half, as Team White goaltender Joe Howe, a senior at Colorado College, stopped every shot he faced to keep his team in the game.
After back-and-forth play, Tyler Graovac pulled Team White within a pair with 4:30 left on a wrist shot from the top of the right circle.
Almost three minutes later, a sweet backdoor feed by Kris Foucault set up Charlie Coyle on the left post for an easy tap-in, making it 4-3.
"I just found some open space and he made a nice play to put it right on my tape," Coyle said. "I almost bobbled it, but it was a nice play by him, a great look."
White pulled its goalie with 1:30 left. Following a face-off win to the left Green’s netminder Stephen Michalek, White tied it up with just eight seconds left on a scramble goal by Kampfer.
"We picked things up there in the second half," Coyle said. "I know I haven't played with any of these guys before, so it's a matter of just getting used to them. It's on both sides, but I thought in the second half, we definitely got used to each other a lot more."
Kampfer said he approached Thursday's scrimmage like he would a game, prepared to do whatever it takes to help his team win. The blueliner who played in 13 games with the Wild last season after coming over from Boston in a trade, stood out Thursday and was aggressive in the offensive zone all night, including on the tying tally.
"You always approach it like a game. You're being evaluated every time you are here," Kampfer said. "You're job's on the line, so you're playing to impress, you're playing to show them what you can and can't do."
Prospects will practice each of the next two days before wrapping up Development Camp with one final scrimmage at 11 a.m. Sunday at Xcel Energy Center. The first 1,000 fans through the door will receive a special Zach Parise T-shirt. Gate One will open at 10 a.m. For fans that can’t make it to Saint Paul, Wild.com will carry a live stream of the game. So many fans packed Thursday night’s game, several sections were opened before the start of the game.