Isles Prospects Fall in 2018 Rookie Game
By Cory Wright (@WrightsWay) / New York Islanders
That's a wrap on rookie camp.
The Islanders and Flyers prospects faced off Wednesday night in the culmination of a week's worth of work for the rookies. The Flyers won the exhibition game 6-3, but the scoreboard mattered less than making an impression on the team's brass.
“I thought [Bridgeport Sound Tigers Head Coach Brent Thompson] did a great job of getting us ready for this main camp coming up,” Kieffer Bellows said. “I think playing this game helps us get used to the game speed again. We haven't played a game since last year and we're all excited for it.”
Bellows, Pius Suter and Jeff Kubiak scored for the Islanders, who rallied out of a 2-0 hole before giving up four straight goals en route to the 6-3 final. Oskar Lindblom scored a hat trick for the Flyers, including two goals in a nine-second span in the second period.
Josh Ho-Sang picked up an assist on Suter's goal, while 2018 first-round pick Noah Dobson earned an assist on Bellows' redirection. Isles 2017 sixth-round pick Arnaud Durandeau, 2016 seventh-round pick David Quenneville and Sound Tigers forward Scott Eansor also picked up assists on Wednesday.
Evan Buitenhuis (Islanders) and Carter Hart (Flyers) started Wednesday's game. Buitenhuis allowed five of the Flyers' six goals, while Hart allowed three. Mitch Gillam (Isles) and Liam Hughes (Flyers) each played the third period for their respective clubs.
DOBSON ON ROOKIE CAMP:
Noah Dobson admitted to having some nerves when the puck dropped on Wednesday, but that was to be expected as the 2018 first-round pick played his first rookie game.
“Even tonight I was a little nervous and kind of fumbling the puck a bit at the start, but I think that's part of it,” Dobson said. “This is my first taste of an NHL camp, so there's a bit of nerves, but I think once you get out there and play and realize it's just another game you get more comfortable and kind of set in and play your game.”
Dobson finished the game with an assist and was quarterbacking the top power-play unit with Ho-Sang, Bellows, Eansor and Otto Koivula.
Thompson's goal was to give the prospects a head start running into Islanders training camp, which begins with physicals on Thursday and on-ice sessions on Friday.
“I was able to learn lots about my own game,” Dobson said of rookie camp. “I think at the start of the camp you want to get the rust off from the summer, so to get that game out of the way you know what to expect. Obviously Friday is going to be another big ramp up playing against regular NHLers… It helped us prepare.”
HOME GAME FOR HITCHCOCK:
After skating all summer at Northwell Health Ice Center, Ryan Hitchcock was more than familiar with the Al Arbour rink when the puck dropped on Wednesday night.
The Manhasset native skated with Matt Martin, Thomas Hickey and Cal Clutterbuck throughout the summer, after inking a two-year deal with Bridgeport in May.
It was a formative experience for the lifelong Islanders fan, former Long Island Gull and Yale University captain, who used a summer of skating with pros to hone his skills for his first professional season.
“It was good to get on the ice with those guys and some NHL goalies and I felt good on the ice with them,” Hitchcock said. “They taught me a lot, I was asking questions and it was an awesome experience.”
Hitchcock said the summer skates have given him confidence heading into rookie camp. He showed heart and hustle in the rookie game, the type of energy needed by a 5'10, 180-pound forward to turn an ATO into an AHL deal - like he did with the Sound Tigers.
“It makes me more confident coming in here knowing I can skate with those guys and just getting to learn from them,” Hitchcock said. “They're awesome guys, I really thanked them for all the knowledge they were able to pass along to me.”
About the Bridgeport Sound Tigers
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