THE TEAM TODAY

THE TEAM TODAY: First Scrimmage

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins pots shootout winner as Team Blue takes out Team White 2-1 in a spirited scrimmage

Wednesday, 03.10.2012 / 3:22 PM / The Team Today
By Marc Ciampa  - edmontonoilers.com
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THE TEAM TODAY: First Scrimmage
In the first scrimmage since training camp began Sunday, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored a shootout winner to lead Team Blue over Team White by a score of 2-1.
   WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 3

FIRST SCRIMMAGE

OKLAHOMA CITY - In the first scrimmage since training camp began Sunday, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored a shootout winner to lead Team Blue over Team White by a score of 2-1.

As the team prepares for Friday and Saturday's pre-season games against the Houston Aeros, the scrimmage got 33 of the 34 camp participants into a game situation. The contest had a referee and two linesmen plus two 25-minute halves. 

The game started as a defensive battle with each side feeling the other out. Brandon Davidson took the game's first penalty -- delay of game -- after flipping the puck over the glass from his own end.

13 minutes in, Curtis Hamilton almost opened the scoring for Team White as he had the puck alone in front of the net after it took a weird hop in front of Team Blue netminder Yann Danis. However, Hamilton's shot went wide.

Taylor Fedun finally opened the scoring 16 minutes into the first half. Fedun fired a blast from the top of the left faceoff circle past Tyler Bunz to make it 1-0 Team Blue. Justin Maylan and Philippe Cornet got the assists.

11:36 into the second half, Team White tied it up as Dane Byers redirected a pass from Chris VandeVelde behind Olivier Roy to knot it up at 1-1. Josh Green had the other helper.

The game was tied going into the shootout. Nugent-Hopkins was the only participant on either side out of six to score.

OBSERVATIONS

With an odd number of forwards up front, often the teams would pair centres and right wings together and rotate left wingers through. Nugent-Hopkins and Eberle played on the same line for most of the game. Magnus Paajarvi was on their left side for a good portion of the second half.

Team Blue outshot Team White 16-8 in the first half but in the second half both teams had nine shots apiece.

Defenceman Martin Marincin did not play but did practice with both groups. He wore a yellow non-contact jersey.

HAMILTON AND PITLICK READY FOR YEAR TWO

Tyler Pitlick and Curtis Hamilton will forever be linked as Oilers second-round draft choices in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. Pitlick was chosen 31st overall while Hamilton was taken 48th.

The pair were also linked by the fact that they were roommates.

"Last year we got to live together and experience everything together because we were the two youngest guys on the team. We got to go through the ups-and-downs of the first year of our pro career," said Hamilton. "It was a big thing having him here with me and I'm looking forward to it again this year."

Hamilton picked up 5 goals and 11 points in an injury-shortened 41-game campaign. Pitlick had 7 goals and 23 points in 61 games but also saw a surge in his performance in the playoffs with 7 points in 13 post-season games.

"(My confidence) was pretty high towards the end of the year. I wanted to make plays and wanted to be a guy who helped the team get goals. In the playoffs, I wanted to be one of the big guys," said Pitlick.

Pitlick added that he enjoys playing with Hamilton.

"He's a great guy. I loved living with him last year. We get along really well. He's got to do the same things I'm doing. Get that confidence up," he continued. "Just the little things."

-- Marc Ciampa, edmontonoilers.com
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