USAF ACADEMY, Colo. – For the 23 players wearing the Colorado Avalanche burgundy colors, they officially get bragging rights over their teammates—at least until next year.
Team Burgundy defeated Team White 3-1 Sunday at Cadet Ice Arena on the grounds of the Air Force Academy in the Avs' annual intra-squad scrimmage and final warm-up before preseason action.
Watching from the press box while scouts Rick Lanz (White), Neill Shea (White), John Harrington (Burgundy) and Guy Perron (Burgundy) coached the scrimmage, head coach Patrick Roy said he saw a lot of things he liked and some things the team still needs to work on before the games start counting.
"I liked the effort, I liked the intensity out there, no doubt about it." Roy said. "There are things that I have a bit of concern of: how we are going to manage our games; sometimes with decisions with and without the puck, I think we are a little too high risk. I understand that it was just a Burgundy/White Game, but these are things we also saw last year in the games that I've been watching."
Despite the 3-1 score, the game was competitive with both teams trading chances for most of the three stanzas. The only difference was goals from Colin Smith, Jamie McGinn and Brad Malone in 6:13 span late in the second period and early in the third.
Team White, who outshot Burgundy 31-28 in the game and 15-6 in the third period, finally found the back of the net with 59 seconds remaining with a goal from Bryan Lerg and with an extra attacker on the ice.
Six goalies saw action in the game—each played a period—as Semyon Varlamov, Kieran Millan and Sami Aittokallio played for Burgundy, and Jean-Sebastien Giguere, Calvin Pickard and Kent Patterson for White.
Giguere, Millan and Varlamov each made eight saves, while Aittokallio made 14, Pickard 12, and Patterson five.
After a scoreless first period, Smith put Burgundy ahead in the middle frame after his shot from the right circle deflected off Team White defenseman Ryan Wilson and past Pickard at 15:35.
The sequence started after defenseman Erik Johnson jumped into the rush, splitting several White players as he brought the puck into the zone. He then dumped it off to Smith, who threw it towards the net and got a fortunate bounce off Wilson's skate.
McGinn gave Burgundy a two-goal advantage less than three minutes later as his turnaround-wrist shot from the right circle sailed over the left shoulder of Pickard and into the twine.
Burgundy took a 3-0 advantage at 1:48 of the third period as Malone scored with a wrist shot from the slot.
Prior to Lerg's late goal, Team White's best chance came on a power play midway through the second period after Stefan Elliott went off for interference. Defenseman Andre Benoit had a wide open net to shoot at, but Millan got across the crease in time to make the save and keep the contest scoreless.
"I couldn't score on the power play there, so that hurt us a bit," Benoit said. "They took advantage after that."
Roy said afterwards that Millan was one of the players that he and his staff have been impressed with during training camp.
"Overall, a great camp," he said of Millan. "All the ratings after every day [after] we met [with the staff], he was always one of the goalies with one of the best ratings. He should be very happy with the impression he made on us, because he did a super job."
For the most part, the scrimmage was like an NHL contest, except for two facets.
The first 15 minutes of the first period had a running clock, but the rest of the game had the typical NHL stoppage time.
The scrimmage concluded with a shootout, which Burgundy also won, 1-0.
Gabriel Landeskog scored the only goal in the shootout, as he came in from the right side, was patient with the puck and lifted it top shelf past Patterson. Nathan MacKinnon and Alex Tanguay also shot for Team Burgundy, with Aittokallio in net. PA Parenteau, Ryan O'Reilly and Matt Duchene all missed in their attempts for Team White.
The Avalanche will open its six-game preseason slate against the Anaheim Ducks at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Pepsi Center. The regular season begins Oct. 2, also against the Ducks.
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