Gold storms back for 8-7 win

Gassed and ready to break camp, the group of talent assembled at the Buffalo Sabres 2008 Development Camp strapped it on for one last scrimmage on Tuesday. With the lack of hitting promoting wide-open play, the tired bodies still provided some solid action. Jean-simon Allard, Derek Whitmore, and Brady Irwin joined Dylan Hunter, Mike Funk, and Paul Byron on the list of non-participants. Byron developed a sore shoulder last week, and has stayed away from the ice in preparation for Team Canada's Development Camp on the 25th. Team Blue got off to another quick start, leading Gold 4-2 at the half time break, but a nine-goal closing stanza would result in Gold's only win of the weeklong gathering. Depleted up front, Alex Biega, Mike Card, and even Mike Weber all saw time as a forward for Team Gold during the afternoon skate. In a similar vein, Marc-Andre Gragnani assumed Allard's forward spot with Blue, skating on a line with Tim Kennedy and Jacob Lagace. Adam Dennis (Blue) and Nick Eno (Gold) started each half in the nets. Scoring synopsis: Five minutes in, a Tyler Myers wrist shot from the point deflected past Nick Eno to open the scoring for Team Blue. Felix Schutz and Mark Van Guilder were in front, but were crediting Myers with the goal as it appeared to bounce off a Gold defender. The line of Van Guilder-Schutz-Orpik continued to impress throughout the afternoon. One of the prettiest plays of the day was an in/out move by Van Guilder that was stopped by Jhonas Enroth. Moments later, Drew MacKenzie jumped up to work a textbook give-and-go with Tim Kennedy, one-timing the return past Nick Eno to give Blue a 2-0 lead. MacKenzie quietly performed well in camp, showing steady play and a bit of an edge amongst a stacked defensive deck. Just as Enroth was getting set after an on-the-fly goalie change, Andrew Orpik blasted home a Felix Schutz feed to make it 3-0 Blue. Corey Tropp would get Gold on the board, pumping a pass from Tyler Ennis past Brad Eidsness to cut Blue's lead to 3-1. The Ennis-Cepis-Tropp unit gelled in the scrimmages, using speed and nifty plays down low to set each other up. Blue would strike again shortly after Tropp's marker. Tyler Myers took a Marek Zagrapan pass into the zone, and spotted Nathan Gerbe heading toward to the net. Gerbe slid a backhander along the ice inside the right post to score Blue's final goal before the break. Tyler Ennis cut Gold's deficit in half when he took a Jacob Cepis pass into the zone and got off a quick wrister. The puck would deflect off a Blue defender (Dennis Persson perhaps), and get past Eidsness. Ennis continues to remind us of a new-era Daniel Briere. His stick-to-it-ness on every play is reminiscent of the former #48, and he even stands like him in warm-ups. End of 1st - Blue 4, Gold 2 The first and second goals of the back-and-forth 2nd were scored via penalty shot. After a hack by Patrick Kaleta, Nathan Gerbe would skate in on Eno, fake a slapper, then deke three times before finishing it off with a backhand. Brilliant. Nick Crawford would later get it back for Gold, beating Adam Dennis stick side to make it 5-3 Blue. A large Gold presence parked in front of the Blue net, Luke Adam took a Vincent Scarsella look and roofed a backhander from in tight to get the comeback juices flowing. On the next shift, a patient Felix Schutz circled in front of Nick Eno and found an opening to put Blue back ahead by a pair. Unfettered and kicking it up a notch with a win in mind, Gold's Mike Kostka finished off a give-and-go with Kaleta to make it a one-goal game. Felix Schutz would again engage in the game of "top that", going top shelf with a pretty backhand. Mark Van Guilder picked up the assist on the seventh and final Blue goal. With Jhonas Enroth now feeding off the Gold energy, Kaleta one-timed a Chris Butler pass from the left point to make it 7-6. Luke Adam would strike again on the way back down to tie the game, 7-7. Minutes later, Scarsella set-up Josh Vatri for the game winning goal. Final Score: Gold 8, Blue 7 Other notes: In a hurry to catch a 7:00 flight out of town, Chris Butler again showed his ability to take the puck down the ice and get a shot off. The guy epitomizes the term "all-situations defenseman", and will be a rock out of the gate for Portland. At one point, Lagace picked him cleanly and took the puck back the other way. Butler chased him down and shoved him to the ice like a mini-linebacker. Butler's partner Mike Weber also had a decent rush into the zone in the 2nd half, but was quickly shut down in the circle. Tyler Myers was seen wheelin'-and-dealin' at various points, causing Sabres Asst. Coach James Patrick to remark, "Tyler Myers is going to be a very good defenseman". Agreed. Dennis Persson was noticeable in front of both nets today. For the good, he continued to jump into play, causing screens and attracting defenders. He also made a few nice passes into the slot for tip opportunities. For the bad, he had the puck poke checked from him at the edge of his crease by Felix Schutz, resulting in a shot on goal. With Mark Van Guilder showing traits of a steady, dependable forward, fellow invitee Jacob Cepis was equally impressive all week. Cepis was going hard the whole way through, charging to the net expecting a puck. When isolating Alex Biega, you really notice his excellent footwork and his ability to stand up against the rush. Marek Zagrapan sprung Gerbe on a breakaway early, but like many others, was running out of gas late. The tank being on E was also the likely villain when Philip Gogulla made an own-zone giveaway to Mike Card in the 2nd half. The save of the day came when Enroth robbed Orpik with a big glove in the 2nd. Jhonas was flashing the leather late, and his supreme hand-eye coordination was evident by his snaring of several tips throughout camp. More in the comments later.
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