THE TEAM TODAY: Eberle Shines
Jordan Eberle scores on a breakaway and creates numerous chances as Team Blue takes the scrimmage 3-2 over Team White the final day before pre-season
EBERLE SHINES IN SCRIMMAGEOKLAHOMA CITY - It was the Jordan Eberle show in the second day of scrimmages for the Oklahoma City Barons as Team Blue once again topped Team White, this time by a score of 3-2.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins also looked good, with a pair of assists on the morning. Nugent-Hopkins got things rolling as his shot from the right side boards rang off the post and directly to Antti Tyrvainen, who had the wide open net and made no mistake with the easy tap-in to make it 1-0 Blue. Justin Maylan had the other assist on the play.
Team White nearly tied it three minutes later as Curtis Hamilton had the puck between the hashmarks in the slot. Hamilton wired a snapper that was snagged out of the air by Olivier Roy.
With 10:34 to play in the first, Eberle looked to have a clear path to the net but was upended by Brandon Davidson, who was sent off for tripping.
With less than four minutes to go in the opening half, Blue's Taylor Fedun received two for hooking. It took Tyler Pitlick just over a minute to find a loose puck and bang in a rebound to tie the game at 1-1 on the power play.
Eberle then used his speed to blaze down the left side and drive to the net in the period's final minute. Just before reaching the crease, Eberle backhanded it top shelf behind Yann Danis to make it 2-1 Blue.
10 minutes into the second half, Eberle missed on a breakaway trying the same move but a minute later Philippe Cornet wristed a cross-ice pass from Mark Arcobello over the glove of Tyler Bunz to extend Blue's lead to 3-1.
Bunz kept things close with a denial of Anton Lander on a breakaway at the 16:40 mark allowing White to pull within a goal five minutes later. Alex Plante buried a blast from the left point blocker side past Blue netminder Ian Keserich but that was as close as White would get.
After sitting out Wednesday's scrimmage with a shoulder injury, Martin Marincin skated this time and looked good, picking up an assist on Plante's goal late in the game. Marincin did leave the ice late in the first but returned before the period would end.
Josh Green appeared to have injured his wrist late in the game but did stay on the bench.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was the last player off the ice following practice, taking an extra 10 minutes to work on his game, including one-timers.
GOALIES GET GEARED UP
One consistent over two days of scrimmaging was the strong goaltending all around. There were no weak goals let in on either side and that can be attributed to what looks like a strong netminding core for the Barons with Tyler Bunz, Olivier Roy and Yann Danis.
For Tyler Bunz, it's his first pro year and he feels that it's off to a good start.
"It was a pretty busy summer. I think my development over the summer went well. I feel pretty comfortable out here. The (scrimmages) have been well, the ice has been well, it's all part of being pro. There's going to be a learning curve with that this year whether I'm in Stockton or in OKC," said Bunz.
The netminder added that he feels he's shown well in camp so far.
"I think I've shown the coaches what I can do in the practices and games. I've competed hard and played hard. I need to work on some things but I'm only 20 years old so that will come with age and experience."
With Yann Danis having locked down the starter's role, one of Bunz or Roy will be starting the year in Stockton. Bunz remarked that he would embrace the move to the ECHL -- a place where Devan Dubnyk once played and Roy himself played last year.
"You look at Dubnyk and him playing with the Oilers, I think Stockton was a big part of that. If that's the case for me I'm more than happy to go down there."
Olivier Roy feels that he's ready to make the step after playing in Stockton most of last season.
"I had a good experience last year. I learned a lot, how to handle myself in different situations," said Roy. "I tried to keep everything I got from Stockton and prove to management that I'm ready to make the next step."
Oilers goaltending consultant Fred Chabot has liked what he's seen from the two young goaltenders since they were drafted into the team.
"They both had a nice progression last two years. Tyler and Olivier both had really good seasons last year and we expect them to keep going the same way this year. I'm pretty demanding with them as far as discipline and how they work and how they compete and they've responded well to it."
Chabot said that the two will see an equal amount of time this weekend during the Barons' lone pair of pre-season games.
"Both of the kids are going to play tomorrow and Yann will get the game on Saturday."
-- Marc Ciampa, edmontonoilers.com