LEWISTON — It may not actually count, but the Buffalo Sabres prospects in blue will take bragging rights over those wearing white into the long summer.
Team Blue beat Team White 9-6 on Friday to complete the scrimmage sweep at Development Camp. Friday morning’s scrimmage closed out the week-long camp at Dwyer Arena, which saw 40 Sabres hopefuls take the ice in Lewiston.
Team Blue got off to a fast start with two quick goals, but Team White tied it up early thanks to some spotty defense in front. Riley Boychuk found Sutter in front to tie the scrimmage at two. However, Marcus Foligno scored for Team Blue on a snap shot just over goaltender Connor Knapp to give Blue a 3-2 lead.
White took a brief lead after Tyler Ennis found T.J. Brennan in the slot and Travis Turnbull scored on a penalty shot, but from there Team Blue took control. Defenseman Brayden McNabb’s point shot found the net to tie it at four, and a Nathan Gerbe breakaway went off the far post, setting up Luke Adam for a goal to break the tie and give Team Blue the lead for good. Adam would break up a 2-on-1 later in the shift to keep momentum in Team Blue’s favor, and the team would score four straight to end the second period.
Forward Jacob Lagace would chip one in to make it 8-4 Blue to start the third, and a late push from Team White would come too late. Goals from Kevin Sundher and Felix Schutz would cut the lead to 8-6, but a tap in by Foligno with 2:25 to play would end the threat and the scoring at this year’s Development Camp.
The Niagara University Summer Camp brought a few dozen children to Friday’s scrimmage. The group filled a section of bleachers on the far side of Dwyer Arena, starting “Let’s Go Sabres” chants and stomping their feet to support the prospects. The group was by far the most vocal supporters of the week, but left after the first period.
Christian Isackson may be a player to keep tabs on over the next few years. The 203rd overall pick (7th round) in this year’s NHL Draft showed promise in yesterday’s scrimmage, setting up his White Team’s first goal with a nice drop pass into the slot.
“One of the best picks in this draft may very well be a guy like Christian Isackson,” said Kris Baker of sabresprospects.com just before camp opened this week. Baker noted his creativity as something that will impress, and his vision on the ice was noticeable on Friday. He was moved up to the squad’s first line for a bit, replacing Tyler Ennis on the wing and skating with Felix Schutz and Zack Kassian.
Marcus Foligno wasn’t afraid to throw his body around during the scrimmage, laying a few heavy hits on the White team and adding a pair of goals. The 104th overall pick in the 2009 NHL Draft missed on a penalty shot just after his second tally to make the score 9-6, but was strong in Blue’s second win of Development Camp. Foligno is the son of former Sabres captain Mike Foligno, and brother of current Ottawa Senator Nick Foligno. Marcus said he and his brother Nick will train together later this summer.
Friday’s scrimmage was noticeably slower than the one fans saw on Thursday, with both sides showing signs of fatigue. Long days of drills and watching film were rewarded with an early dismissal, however, as the team wrapped Development Camp just after 12:30 p.m. despite a scheduled 1:30 p.m. finish.