Benoit Pouliot led the way with two goals and goalie Justin Pogge made 13 saves to help Team Red gain a comfortable 4-0 victory over Team White Tuesday night at the Pacific Coliseum. Team White netminder Devan Dubnyk got little support from his defence, surrendering four goals on 17 shots.
Michael Blunden and Guillaume Latendresse scored the other Team Red goals in a rapidly played contest with 15-minute periods and 1-minute minor penalties.
The team seemed cautious in the early going, exchanging scoreless power plays. Blunden was stopped in tight once by Dubnyk, but opened the scoring after going hard to the net at 12:03, converting a Derrick Brassard set-up
Then came a moment of shattering excitement when Team White defenceman Andy Rogers was sent through the glass by Team Red forward Blake Comeau, who was aggressively forechecking in the corner directly to Dubnyk’s left. That resulted in a 15-minute delay, with the ice being resurfaced and the glass being replaced.
“I’ve never broken glass before,” chuckled Comeau, who also had an assist to go with his big hit. “That’s a first for me, it felt good though.”
At 5:06 of the second period, Latendresse tallied on a spinaround shot from the faceoff circle to Dubnyk’s left, making it 2-0 for Team Red.
Pouliot, who was consistently dangerous and difficult to handle down low, victimized Dubnyk as he walked into the slot and lofted a wrister over the Kamloops Blazers netminder’s glove at 9:06 of the middle frame.
The Sudbury Wolves power forward added his second of the game with less than two minutes left in the third period, capitalizing on a turnover deep in the White zone.
“We have good chemistry on the team, and everyone likes each other,” said Pouliot. “We brought it on the ice and it worked, so hopefully we do the same thing all week long.”
For Pogge, a 6-3, 200-pound native of Penticton, B.C., it was a great way to start camp by posting a donut on the score sheet.
“I got lucky a couple times, and they didn’t get any shots in the first period,” the Calgary Hitmen netminder said. “It was a pretty intense game, and it kept getting more intense as the game went on.
“I thought I played really well. I was playing the puck maybe a bit too much, but you have to show off your attributes sometimes.”
More reaction after first Intersquad Game
HockeyCanada.ca caught up with players on both sides after Tuesday’s Team Red win over Team White at the Pacific Coliseum, as well as the man in charge. The post-game mood was calm and composed, as everyone realized this was just a small stepping stone in the overall team-building process.
Brent Sutter, Head Coach: I think it’s starting to sort itself out a little bit, just from the practices yesterday and today and the game today. The intensity will have to be a bit higher. I’m not going to get into names. I’m not going to tip my hat on names. Those decisions will be made on Friday. I thought it was an OK game tonight. It wasn’t a great game, but that’s for the reasons I already said. They were a little bit nervous, a little bit tired, but I thought some guys played pretty darned good. [In the next Intersquad game], we won’t be playing 20-minute periods, for sure. There are only three lines per team, and if the games are played at the intensity level they need to be, I don’t think we need to go with 20-minute periods. We used 15-minute periods last year too.
Cam Barker, Team Red: I think most of our guys knew the system pretty well, and felt pretty comfortable with it. It looked like the other team needed some getting used to it. They seemed hesitant at times. But so did everyone to some degree. It was good to get the nerves out in the first game. Things should smooth out here over the next couple [of Selection Camp games]. It’s good to get in games and feel the flow. It’s more physical, and it’s more like what it’s going to be like come tournament time. [In terms of playing in front of Justin Pogge], he’s great at playing the puck. He helps out a lot, especially on dump-ins and rims. That’s a huge help.
Guillaume Latendresse, Team Red: My line, we had a slow start, but after a few goals, it went pretty well for us. It was fun, but I think it’ll take some time to develop more cohesion, for sure. Tomorrow’s game will be a bit better for everyone. On my goal, we were working down low, and I just got the puck on net. I was a bit lucky, but we’ll take it.
Devan Dubnyk, Team White: They pick the team based on more than one game, and I’ve been trying to play well all year, in the summer and here. It was tough, but it was one game, and I’ve got to put it behind me and be ready for the next couple of days here. It’s a little different [playing in front of a small crowd in an Intersquad game], but with everything at stake, it’s not hard to get excited about playing. There wasn’t a whole lot of flow out there, but I started feeling better in the third period.
Luc Bourdon, Team White: Obviously you always want to win these games, because the coaches want to take some winners, not losers. So I guess tomorrow we’ll have to fight back hard. We kind of came out flat the first period, and we didn’t talk enough on the ice. We didn’t get over the blueline enough and shoot on their goalie. That’s maybe the main thing. In the third period, we did get a few shots and scoring opportunities. We’ll need a better effort from everybody tomorrow.