Jul 13, 2018

Day three of development camp was one all the prospects had been looking forward to.

After two days of drills, the boys were starting to get a little antsy. But at 2:30 p.m., the Minnesota Wild prospects hit the ice for the first of two scrimmages during the week, where players got to put what they had learned the previous days into game action.

Leading up to the scrimmage, the coaches once again split up the players based off of positions; two forwards groups and all the defenseman in another. On the ice, the forwards participated in faceoff battles, learning the tricks of the trade on restarts. The coaching staff brought out a television on the ice to show the correct faceoff techniques to the players before having them start taking draws.

Off the ice, the players worked with power skating coach Andy Ness on calisthenics before working on stickhandling and passing. The prospects broke up into pairs and went through drills designed to help passing and receiving the puck with their heads up, as well as refining passing skills such as saucer passes.

After the light workouts on the ice, the players broke for lunch and a media seminar put on by the Minnesota Wild public relations staff. The seminar focused on how to present yourself to the media on and off the ice and giving best practices to players for interviews and interactions on social media, stressing the fact to players to be themselves.

With the seminar completed, it was the time every player had been waiting for.

Team Green and Team White competed in a scrimmage with two 30-minute halves with a running clock along with a five-minute overtime period and a five-person shootout. Any goal scored counted toward the total, making the whole event as competitive as possible.

Team Green opened up the scoring with a goal from forward Zeb Knutson. Knutson, who made his pro debut last season with the Milwaukee Admirals against Iowa Wild, was able to split the Team White defenseman before chipping the puck past goaltender Dereck Baribeau’s pad for the score.

Team Green then doubled its lead when 2018 first-round draft pick Filip Johansson scored his first goal in a Wild sweater. The blueliner received a pass from forward Tyler Sheehy and broke to the top of the right faceoff dot. Johansson rifled a shot that snuck under Baribeau’s glove and Green had a 2-0 lead.

The first half ended with Green holding the 2-0 lead while maintaining possession for most of the period. While he didn’t find the scoresheet, forward Dante Salituro for Team Green was buzzing all over the ice, racking up shot after shot and impressing a lot of those in attendance. Goaltender Hunter Shepard kept White off the scoresheet for a shutout.

Team White got on the board for the first time in the second half, when Brandon Duhaime put the puck behind goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen to cut Green’s lead to 2-1. But Team Green quickly bounced back when forward Connor Dewar corralled a rebound in front of goaltender Matt Robson and lifted it top-shelf to give Green a 3-1 lead.

Starting to push back, defenseman Louie Belpedio once again chipped away at Team Green’s lead when he lasered a shot through Kahkonen’s five-hole after a pass from forward Alexander Khovanov. As the clock wound down, Team White found the back of the net once more when forward Scott Conway redirected a pass from Nicholas Boka to tie the game at 3-3.

After a scoreless overtime session, a shootout that was meant to be superficial actually ended up deciding the game.

Team Green went first and its first skater, Nick Swaney, beat Robson to give his team the early lead. But Dmitry Sokolov beat Kahkonen with a backhand toe-drag to tie the game at 1-1 through the first round. The next five skaters were stopped by the goaltenders until four-time development camp invitee Gustav Bouramman put Team White ahead with a shot past Kahkonen. Robson stoned the final Team Green shooter and after overcoming a 2-0 and 3-1 deficit, Team White skated away victorious.

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