The Ducks went out winners at the Young Stars tournament in Penticton, B.C., topping the Vancouver Canucks’ rookies 4-2.
After two straight losses in which they were outmuscled for net position and looked lost on special teams, the kids turned it around in a major way. A pair of power-play goals, by Rob Bordson and Cam Fowler, staked the Ducks to a 2-0 lead through two periods.
In the third, Vancouver came back to tie the game at 2 against goaltender Timo Pielmeier, who lost the tournament opener Sunday. But center Maxime Macenauer, who spent all of last season with ECHL affiliate Bakersfield, scored the game-winner with less than three minutes to play. Kyle Palmieri’s empty-net goal provided the final score.
The Ducks led in the shot column, 33-18, and Pielmeier needed only 16 saves for the win. Russian goalie Igor Bobkov was on the bench for the first time in the tournament, but the Ducks’ third-round 2009 draft pick did not appear in the game.
Some of the rookie camp participants will take part in the Ducks’ main camp, which begins Saturday in Anaheim.
A few snap judgments from the final tournament game:
If there was a constant positive for the Ducks throughout the tournament, it was their willingness and ability to fight. Brian Lebler, John Kurtz and Scott Ramsay all took their turns brawling in the first period and all got some good licks in. The future on that front is bright.
Wednesday also offered some tangible proof that the kids can play together, in addition to the individual skills that were reduced to flashes in losses Sunday and Monday. The two power-play goals were no fluke. Peter Holland and Nicolas Deschamps set up Bordson with some nice passing for the first goal. Fowler’s was a simple wrister that the recent first-round pick flung at the net from the left point, but Lebler and Palmieri screened Vancouver goalie Michael Houser from ever seeing the puck.
Devante Smith-Pelly is ridiculously strong on the puck, and the Ducks’ second-round pick in the June draft seemed to grow more assertive with each game – not surprising considering he’s only 18 and just finished his second junior season.
Emerson Etem’s skills look very raw. He’s a fast skater, but will be more of a project than fellow first-round pick Fowler.
It’ll be interesting to see who makes the training camp roster out of the rookie camp. Fowler certainly held his own against his peers; the only test for him now is how he looks against NHLers. Mat Clark, 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds, also looked like a man among boys and provided some needed shot-blocking skill from the blue line. The second-round pick from 2009 has another year of junior eligibility but the Brampton Battalion will likely have to wait a few more days him to arrive from Anaheim.