Main Camp: Day 2
I can’t remember the last time I had to get up at 7:30 am for a practice. I’m thinking it had to be when I was back playing my younger years of minor hockey! I’m not a big breakfast person, which makes it even worse to go play hockey when you’re on an empty stomach. Nonetheless my team and I filed in through the back door of the Arena to jump on the ice for the first practice of the day. I was pretty excited to practice today because of my new gear that came in from Reebok. I blogged a picture of it earlier if you’re interested in looking. Any goalie, or player for that matter, will attest to this: getting new gear is like Christmas! It might be just as, or even more, exciting as Christmas. You even get to open the boxes like you would on Christmas. Two Christmas’s in one year.. I like the sounds of that.
Anyways, another basic practice, nothing too strenuous. A few flow drills, battle drills, and a “bag” skate, if you will, at the end. My team looks pretty good to be completely honest with you. We have veterans Matt Konan, Emerson Etem, Scott McKay, Dylan Bredo, Reid Petryk, Kellan Tochkin and myself… not to shabby of a line up if you ask me. The young guys on our team seem to be pretty good as well. Guys like Cole Sanford, Blake Penner, and Gavin Broadhead all stood out. Broadhead battles hard, has a good shot and plays in your face type hockey. Almost like a Dorsett, Kessy or even Hamilton type of player. Very gritty.
Our practice was followed by Team White facing off against Team Black. I decided to stay and watch with some boys to check out the pace of the game. It was pretty intense actually. Riley Sheen looked pretty good out there. Pretty slick hands for a young guy. Kale Kessy didn’t care if you were his linemate from the year before, or a 15 year old rookie, he was putting you through the glass. Questionable..I know! But for me I get to laugh and just thank God I’m a goalie for that reason only. Hunter Shinkaruk looked good too, a few gino’s for him in the game. All four goalies, I thought, played good as well. Although the game ended 6-5 in a shootout for Team White, the shots were 51-44 or something like that. A lot of rubber for the tendies. Dylan Busenius got the shootout winner. I took full praise for Team White winning as I told Joey Frazer to throw him out there in the 3rd spot of the shootout, just in case it came down to him needing to score to win it. As it panned out, I was right. (You’re welcome White!)
Linden Vey decided to make the hike down to Med Hat today. Good seeing him again. Great guy who always brings up the mood with his sense of humor. Likely to play in the AHL this year, he does have a shot, in my mind, to crack the show. 116 points in one season is more than impressive. This guy’s skill set is unreal. Bob Ridley showed his handsome young self today as well. If you haven’t heard of him, well you just don’t follow WHL hockey. 42 years with the Med Hat Tigers in being their bus driver and play-by-play man. Talk about commitment and dedication to something, this guys got it all.
After the scrimmage myself and the goalies jumped on the ice with JF Martel, the goaltending consultant. An absolute beauty of a guy, and a main reason of why I’m where I’m at today. It was just a quick goalie session of some basic movements, which I definitely needed in order to help break in the new gear.
Tonight, Team Black practices today at 4-6 while Team Orange and Team White face off at 7:30 at the Arena. From what I saw today it should be a good game tonight. Open to the public as well, if you’re interested in coming.
I should probably get a nap in now. A recap of tonight’s game will be up later tonight to finish off Day 2 of main camp. You can also go to www.tigershockey.com as they usually have some info on camp as well!
Main Camp: Day 2 Cont’d
Day 2 wrapped up with Team Orange and Team Black facing off. I started in net for Team Orange. We went down 2-0 pretty early in the game. You could tell we haven’t played together – ever. For most guys, it was the first game situation they’ve been in since last season. But the tempo was good, and you could tell guys were competing. You always like to see that in a hockey game. After a wild first period, the score was 2-0 heading into the intermission. Shots were 20-14 for White. Kenny, the starting goalie for White, looked solid. An 18 year old from Calgary, who has a legit shot at making this team as well.
The first ten minutes of the second I saw 7 shots, Kenny saw 13. Emerson Etem buried a goal just before the 10 minute mark, which cut the lead to 2-1 before I left the net to give way to Spencer, a young 16 year old goaltending prospect. Dawson MacCauley came in for Team White, another guy who is competing for a spot as well.
Watching the game from the bench, I saw quite a bit of talent and grit from a lot of players. There was even a fight between Dylan Bredo and Jayden Hart in the third period. (We gave it to Bredo for fighting a rookie.) I even got to have a nice chat with Jace Coyle, a 20 year old graduate from last year. The benefits of being a goaltender in main camp: Work hard for 30 minutes…and sit back and relax for the last 30! It was good to see Coyle again, though. His plans are to play in the AHL for the Dallas Stars’s farm team. No doubt in my mind he won’t be there. Going to miss having him around this year.
Heading into the third, the score went back and fourth. We went down by two goals three times in the game, to finally tie it up again late in the 3rd to send it to a shootout. Emerson Etem and Matt Konan all had big nights for Team Orange. Not many times will you see a defenceman (Konan) with 3 goals in a game, one of which he buried in the shootout. After 2 rounds of the shootout, it came down to Etem for Team Orange to score to send it to extra shooters. He did his patented move of coming down the wide side, stopping just far enough so the goalie slides past him so he can calmly slide it in the open net.. This would of happened if Dawson MacCauley wasn’t 6’ 4” and had monster long legs. He robbed Etem of a sure goal and led Team White to, yet again, another 6-5 shootout win, which they previously did against Team Black earlier in the day.
All in all a pretty solid game by both teams. I’m sure the scouting staff liked what they saw from the rookie and veteran players.
Tomorrow brings one last game for Team Orange vs Team Black before the first cuts of main camp are made. Expect some nerves to be rising, I’m saying this because I was once that young prospect hoping to crack the Tigers’ lineup!