The game didn’t count, but the first impression surely did.
Kyle Palmieri scored three impressive goals Tuesday night in an intrasquad scrimmage at the Ducks’ prospects conditioning camp. The scrimmage, which consisted of two 30-minute periods of four-on-four hockey, ended in a 4-4 tie.
For many of the fans in attendance at Anaheim Ice, it was their first chance to watch Palmieri play hockey. For Palmieri, who last made headlines when he was arrested in April, it was exactly the debut he needed.
“It was good to get back into a competitive game,” the 19-year-old said. “We’re all trying to impress the people upstairs. At the same time, we’re having fun and trying to get to know some people.”
Before rehashing Palmieri’s past, it’s impressive to note that he is both frank and remorseful in the present.
His arrest, on charges of resisting arrest and minor alcohol consumption, did not result in his expulsion from the University of Notre Dame and Palmieri doesn’t expect it will. His court case been settled.
According to the South Bend Tribune, Palmieri was arrested after police spotted he and Notre Dame teammate Riley Sheahan standing in the bed of a moving pickup truck about 2:30 a.m. Palmieri attempted to run away from an officer, which led to a struggle between the two that included the freshman hockey player grabbing at the officer’s Taser. Police said a test showed he had a 0.10 percent blood-alcohol level.
“Obviously, was a big mistake on my part,” Palmieri said. “It was definitely a bad decision. I’m hoping to move forward and take whatever punishment that’s coming to me, and I’ll just try to build from it. I think I’m stronger because of it.”
Further punishment could come from Irish coach Jeff Jackson and the university, “but that’s just something I have to deal with after making a bad decision,” he said.
If Palmieri’s contrition has helped earned him a second chance in college, his hockey skills certainly haven’t hurt him.
All three goals saw Palmieri skate hard to the net and finish with a deft touch from close range. His second goal was the most impressive; the 5-foot-11 forward skated most of the length of the ice, absorbed a hard collision as he reached around goalie Marco Cousineau, but scored the goal anyway.
“Even though I’m not a big guy, I like to go in front of the net, kind of mix it up a little bit,” he said. “That’s how I got this far in hockey and it’s no time to stop now.”
The third goal came at a more critical time, with time winding down and his squad trailing 4-3. Many of the youngsters looked tired — a combination of jetlag, Pacific time-zone adjustments, and a morning workout session — but Palmieri was in peak form.
After a long day, and a long year, it was a good place to be.