David Steckel, Keith Aucoin, Brooks Laich and Mat Bradley scored for Team C in a 4-3 victory against Team B in game 1 of the Duchesne Cup. Andrew Gordon had two goals, both assisted on by Mathieu Perreault, for Team B.
Bruce Boudreau lauded both Gordon and Perreault for their efforts, along with Quintin Laing for his energy and physical play. Team C dominated the first period, but Laing and Trevor Bruess helped change the tenor of the game with a few well-placed body checks.
Boudreau also liked what he saw from goalie Michal Neuvirth. Both he and Semyon Varlamov were pretty solid. Jason Bacashihua actually made a couple of great saves in his one period of work for Team C. The coach also liked the overall work put in by the Laich-Aucoin-Chris Clark line for Team C.
“You can see the young guys going a little harder and taking the body a little more than perhaps us, but for us it is good because it is the first time we’ve seen actual body contact,” Steckel said. “It is good to help get down your timing. Every time you turn around there is somebody on you. It takes a while to adjust — not just your legs but also mentally.”
Another guy that impressed (at least to me) was Sean Collins. Nothing too flashy, but plenty of solid outlet passes, skating the puck out of danger and a few deft defensive plays mixed in as well. There are a lot of NHL-caliber defensemen in camp (one forward said, “I’m glad I’m not the one who has to make those decisions on D”), but don’t discount Collins. He has an NHL contract and would have to go through waivers to go to Hershey. There isn’t a lot of room with the Caps, but he could force the team’s hand.
“That’s why Sean is signed — the 16 games he played for us, he first 12 of them we kept saying, ‘OK, when’s it going to happen when he’s not that good?’ But he played really good for us in those 16 games. I’d like to see what our record is in those games.”
The Caps’ record with Sean Collins in the lineup was 12-4.