Abbotsford Update: Training Camp - Day 4
After holding practice sessions in the morning, the Abbotsford Heat coaching staff had their charges play in a controlled scrimmage to see how they fared in a game-like situation.
Unlike Friday's scrimmage, which will have AHL officials and is viewed by the organization as an exhibition tilt, the coaching staff set each team up with power plays so that they could get a read on what certain players looked like on special teams units.
"It was more of a chance for them to get a little bit of a game feel for on Friday so we can play at the highest level," head coach Troy Ward said afterwards.
"A lot of times there is so much teaching on a day-to-day basis that you don't put guys in a lot of outnumbered situations or uneven situations. We wanted to have some guys to kill penalties, we wanted to look at how certain players could do ... some players are power play people, some players are penalty kill people. We just wanted to get a little sampling of that."
Even though it was a controlled scrimmage, players knew this was a prime opportunity to make a strong impression on management so the competitiveness was fierce. It also allows them to get back into the swing of things before the Oct. 12 season opener.
"We've got to get back into game shape in a hurry," Carter Bancks noted. "It's a lot different going through practices in the summer and those shinny games compared to the real thing when someone's trying to take your head off or taking you hard to the net.
"It's a lot of different situations you might not see in the summer so with us having no exhibition games, we have to ramp it up right away and I thought we did that today."
Team Red (ROSTER) pulled away with a 3-1 win, scoring two power play goals in the process. David Eddy, Tyler Ruegsegger and TJ Brodie all found the back of the net for Red while Max Reinhart scored the lone Black tally.
One line that may interest Flames fans was Sven Baertschi - Ben Street - Roman Horak. While Horak was used solely as a centreman by the Flames, Ward placed him on wing during his time in Abbotsford last season and it appears the Czech forward could find himself at that position again. Street, who played last season with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, centered the two youngsters.
"I thought they did some nice things," Ward commented. "I thought they possessed the puck and they moved the puck very well.
"They all have such good, quick sticks. They move the puck extremely well. It's not on one stick very long and they give themselves a lot of time and space."
Another line that caught Ward's eye was Brett Olson - Ruegsegger - Adam Estoclet. Ruegsegger scored the deciding goal for Team Red with his linemates setting him nicely in the slot.
"Always had the puck, always down in that end. Ruegsegger scores a goal and got a penalty shot. Good things were happening with that line in particular ... that line stuck out the most."
Goaltending is a position that Ward was particularly interested in watching during the scrimmage. The Heat have five netminders attending camp and with such a short period of time to evaluate each player, seeing the goalies react to shots and situations they would see in a game is very beneficial.
"We're in a position where we don't have exhibition games. You don't really get any live bullets so to speak besides Friday," he said. "That battle continues every day."