7/9 Recap: Grey takes it to Blue in final minute

The Sabres Development Camp shifted to scrimmage mode Thursday at Dwyer Arena with a civil war match-up between Team Blue and Team Grey. Two 30-minute halves were played, and yes, there was a Dan Murphy sighting. For those who don't want to read, Grey took a 5-4 win thanks to an Igor Gongalskyi penalty shot goal in the final minute. Grey Roster G - Enroth, Lamoureux D - Myers (6), Southorn (5), Adams (52), Fienhage (26), Kostka (8), Crawford (44), Butler (37), Weber (red) F - Jokinen (22), Gongalskyi (27), Legault (9), Turnbull (21), Tropp (10), Lagacé (29), DeSousa (38), Gogulla (13), Gerbe (20) Blue Roster G - Eno (31), Knapp (30) D - MacKenzie (28), Biega (26), McNabb (6), Generous (55), Persson (28), Schiestel (5), Gragnani (4), Brennan (61) F - Fine (12), Orpik (27), Adam (19), Gallimore (76), Foligno (8), Byron (37), Kennedy (29), Payerl (36), Whitmore (22), Schutz (14) Grey Lines: Gerbe - Turnbull - Legault Weber - Myers Gogulla - Tropp - Jokinen Kostka - Butler Lagacé - Gongalskyi - DeSousa Crawford - Fienhage Southorn - Adams Blue Lines Adam - Kennedy - Whitmore Brennan - Generous Byron - Foligno - Orpik Gragnani - Persson Fine - Schutz - Gallimore Schiestel - Biega Fine - Byron - Payerl McNabb - MacKenzie Also saw Adam - Byron - Orpik as well... Forwards Zack Kassian, Tyler Ennis, and Brayden Irwin did not participate. ------------------------------------------------ It was a tough start for Blue netminder Nick Eno. Just 30-seconds in, Travis Turnbull fed a puck to the front of the net, where it found Maxime Legault. Legault chipped a backhand past Eno to give Grey an early 1-0 lead. Turnbull motored all afternoon to put on one of the day's top performances. He made some smart defensive plays with his stick and was charging hard on the forecheck. On the other side, Eno appeared nervous and shaky in the first ten minutes as he battled some pedestrian shots. Moments after Legault's tally, Grey's Nick Crawford would punch a shot through from the left point. An opportunistic Jacob Lagacé was there to belt the puck in and give Grey a 2-0 advantage. At 22:25, Felix Schutz capitalized on a funky dump-in bounce to get Blue on the board. Grey starter Jhonas Enroth exited the crease to play the puck, leaving the net wide open for the German to half the lead. Blue would tie it up seven minutes later when Tim Kennedy's sharp pass was tipped by Burke Gallimore over Enroth's right shoulder to make it a 2-2 game. The contact elevated once the players cycled through a few shifts. Like Turnbull, Marcus Foligno set a good pace skating into every check with good contact. Many of his workmanlike bumps came in open ice to knock the man off the puck. The stronger hits started after the 20:00 mark when Brayden McNabb stepped up and shouldered Lagacé to the ice. From there, a forechecking Turnbull had a nice collision with Matt Generous in front of the blue cage, while Maxime Legault took two solid runs at Andrew Orpik. The pops culminated with Chris Butler popping TJ Brennan's helmet off after a nice corner take-out. The only thing close to resembling a dust-up came late in the half with Nathan Gerbe taking a few shoves at fellow Beantown collegian Alex Biega after a whistle. There were two penalties called in the first half. Like last year, the offended player would take a penalty shot in lieu of earning power play. Unlike last year, the penalty shots were performed with the offender on chase from the far blue line. Tim Kennedy was called for hooking Justin Jokinen. Eno stopped the attempt for Team Blue. Later on, Kennedy would ring the post on Enroth as Chris Butler (tripping) was closing in. The second half gets underway with Legault and Foligno continuing to finish their checks. Legault put a real solid hit on Michael Fine on the very first shift. Overall though, the physical tone was much more subdued than the first 30-minutes. After Luke Adam failed to take Adams wide, Grags got called for a trip of Chris DeSousa at the other end of the rink. DeSousa deked left on the penalty shot, but couldn't lift the pick over Connor Knapp's right pad. At the 18:30 mark, Gerbe would get the first goal of the half but roofing a Turnbull feed through minor traffic over Knapp's right shoulder. Five minutes later, DeSousa would break down the left side and pump a slap shot cleanly past Knapp to put Grey ahead 4-2. Knapp looked like a goaltender with a lot of potential. He gets square to the shooter and covers a lot of net. I'm curious to find out how new his pads are, given some of the excessive rebounds they were kicking out. The unforgiving pads twice bounced pucks right into the slot that I think would normally be controlled. A minute after the Desousa tally, a Team Blue line of Adam-Byron-Orpik combined to get some down low pressure near Lamoureux that resulted in a goal. It was unclear who scored it, but it closed the gap to 4-3. Blue would tie the game 4-4 when Schutz hit an oncoming Dennis Persson, who in turn buried a low wrister past Lamoureux. Schutz would get called for hooking Igor Gongalskyi in the final minute of play. The Russian forward skated in on his penalty shot and buried the puck five-hole on Knapp to give Grey the 5-4 win. Additional game notes: - Schutz was strong the whole way through. He had some points, but also made some straight line plays through the D to get to the net. After performing well together last season, he and Orpik reprised their trapping ways for a shift by pinning Myers and Weber deep. The play resulted in a scrum in front of Enroth and a near goal. At another point he almost forced Weber into precarious waters near his own goal due to his strong pursuit. - Weber and Myers were an interesting duo. Both players have executed better. Myers got dinged for a turnover early on, but balanced it out with some break-ups and a otherwise good passing. - Early on, Fine took advantage of a tentative Mark Adams by picking the puck cleanly from the high-schooler to spark a break the other way. - The least experienced of all the camp players, Adams continued to demonstrate his best asset - skating. A few times he weaved in and out of neutral zone space to advance the puck. He has a natural inclination to follow the play when he does skate it in, but I suspect he has the recovery wheels in his bag. He'll gain the necessary strength as he grows, but for now looks to have a decent set of tools in place. - Along with Adams, Nick Crawford is a guy I'd like to see get his shot off quicker. It doesn't always have to be a wind-up. Off-speed shots to the cage are often just as effective as 90MPH blasts. Crawford played his usual safe game today. - Corey Fienhage had his physical brand of hockey on display. That side of his game is something to build around, and again I'll point out the good footwork that makes it happen for him. His best contact came in the first half when he put a very authoritative finish on Tim Kennedy in the corner. The package is definitely in place. The #1 thing I'd like to see him improve in the next three years is the time taken to make a decision. He needs to corral the puck, have his head up, and find a taker. The fact that he's hard to move will help limit turnovers against smaller players, but keeping up with the pace will be key moving forward. - Persson showed decent mobility in the opening half, once picking a good spot to fill a lane deep with the puck. Lacking options while skating it up the left side, Persson glided into the corner where he dumped it off and smartly retreated to his blueline post. - Philip Gogulla had a quiet outing statistically, but I thought he was productive in playing his game. He keeps the puck when he gets it, and looks good coming down the wing with his big, wide stride. Like a condor. - Adam showed good awareness and two-way dedication. He has all the scorer's tricks. He knows when to elevate the puck, and is open to using defensemen as screens. He missed a great opportunity to wipe out Mike Kostka as the defenseman was looking up to knock a puck out of the air. - Late in the first half, Biega made an on-the-spot stick-lift and immediate clear from in front of his own net to prevent a Grey forward from scarfing up a Jordon Southorn rebound. - Paul Byron held his own all afternoon. He was pesky without the puck and in good control with it. He likes to bump guys despite his smallish frame and generally works hard to make his plays. - Justin Jokinen was responsible for one of two very nice cross-ice passes in the neutral zone that are worth the recall, but he'll need to keep sharpening his d-zone awareness in the WCHA. Offensive skill set certainly present. - Foligno made a really nice play in the second period to intercept an up-ice attempt clean out of the air. The 17-year old got rid of it quickly in an effort to push himself towards the net, in effect clearing a path behind him. - Matt Generous skated hard with the puck, made good decisions from the point, and played a sound defensive game. - Drew Schiestel also skated very well, at one point looking like he could take the puck coast-to-coast, but instead he pulled up before hitting the hole. I didn't see him tested defensively. - Aside from the big hit on Lagacé, McNabb looked solid. He showed good reaction to the play, and was quick to move it out of his end. - Lamoureux is a gamer who surprisingly holds his ground rather well for a small netminder. With the game built on down-low pressure and traffic, Lamoureux sets well and lets his d-men do their jobs. As noted yesterday, he really does like to ditch his stick of it means making a save as evidenced by the two occasions on Thursday. - Aside from the goal, DeSousa was more involved in the second half. I noted one weak clearing attempt, and another spot where he maybe could have looked to get into the zone. I know you can't be north/south all of the time, but this one play is where I'd like to have him tried to kick an extra gear to assert himself into a scoring play. In his defense, he may have been near the end of a shift. - Gragnani is staying back in his defensive posture. There was one play late in the scrimmage where his partner was sucked towards the boards and he was late to read it, leaving the middle wide open. Other than that, he looked in control out there. - Adam Payerl was persistent on the forecheck. He did a good job of putting himself into the right spots in both zones. There's no flash to his game, but he's a hard worker who has acquitted himself well this week.
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Anonymous
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Friday, July 10, 2009 ×

Excellent stuff, Kris. Keep it up.

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Mike Ball
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Friday, July 10, 2009 ×

PHENOMENAL write up Kris. Can't thank you enough for the recap and review on all players over the past few days.

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myleslong
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Friday, July 10, 2009 ×

Great observations,Kris-fair and accurate reporting.
Is it just coincidence, but does Knapp seem to be weak high stick side?

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Anonymous
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Friday, July 10, 2009 ×

Thanks for the write-up Kris. I couldn't make it to either of the scrimmage days, so your great observations are much appreciated.

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Kris Baker
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Sunday, July 12, 2009 ×

myleslong - Knapp was much better on Friday. He looked more confident facing the shooters, and was more crisp in his crease movement. I honestly need to see more to pinpoint his developmental needs, but high-stick does look to be an area he can focus on.

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Kris Baker
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Sunday, July 12, 2009 ×

(not to suggest that Knapp wasn't good on Thursday. He simply looked better on Friday when the end of the long week was finally in sight.)

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Anonymous
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Tuesday, July 14, 2009 ×

Your Twitter mentioned something about Dipienta and what Grags might be thinking about that pickup... I said this when we offered Buravchikov a contract, something could be (or better be) brewing with d-men trades because we will have 8 d-men in Portland plus Myers under contract, so you gotta think they plan on moving Tallinder and/or Lydman so a prospect can make the leap up, unless they plan on moving a few prospects in package trades. If they want Myers in the lineup next year, someone's gotta be moved, but even if he goes back to Juniors for 1 more year, there's still a cluster of d-men in Portland so Weber could be making the leap with maybe Grags knocking on the door. And don't we still have Paestch as a 7th d-man? They better be able to pull off a trade.

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Anonymous
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Friday, July 24, 2009 ×

Who do you think had the best camp, other than Butler who we know is gonna be starting next year? Of course Gerbe stood out as usual with his speed, and I didn't get to see everybody play the day I went, but Weber really stood out to me like he's ready to rebound from last seasons injuries.

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