Team Gold scored four times in the second period to defeat Team Black 5-2 in the Estevan Bruins' annual intersquad game Sunday night.
Brayden Bentz scored twice for Team Gold in the contest, which brought an end to the Bruins' three-day fall training camp. Paul Schulte, Connor McKenzie and Lynnden Pastachak also scored for Team Gold, while Tyler Boyer and Zach Douglas replied for Team Black.
Head coach/GM Chris Lewgood said he was pleased with the effort shown by the team during the three days. About 60 players attended camp; they were divided into four teams, and participated in scrimmages.
“I'm pretty excited about the group, and there were a couple surprises,” said Lewgood.
Forward Austin Daae, a 20-year-old local product who has split time between Estevan and the WHL during the last two seasons, was a stand-out before suffering a minor injury, Lewgood said. Two prospects, forward Keegan Allison and defenceman Nolan Nicholas, also garnered good reviews for their performances.
Douglas, a defenceman who shared the top rookie award and won the most improved player last year, played as a forward throughout camp, but he'll be back on the blue-line once the season begins, Lewgood said.
“His play has been so steady, we thought to fill a forward spot, he'd be a good one to do it,” said Lewgood. “I'd be lying if I said I didn't think he'd be put up there once or twice this year, because he was absolutely as good of a forward as we had.”
There were surprises in camp, too, Lewgood said. Schulte, an 18-year-old forward from Alberta, caught their attention during the scrimmages and in the Black/Gold game.
McKenzie, who is also 18, showed a dimension that they hadn't seen when he skated with the returning players during conditioning camp, Lewgood said.
McKenzie is the son of retired NHL forward Jim McKenzie. The elder McKenzie played his minor hockey in Carlyle, and still has a lot of family in the Estevan area.
The Bruins will open the pre-season Monday night in Wilcox against the Notre Dame Hounds. Then they will host a team from Minot on Wednesday night, starting at 7:30 p.m.
In off-ice news, forward Darcy DeRoose has been re-assigned to the Bruins by the WHL's Moose Jaw Warriors. DeRoose, 18, had 25 points in 46 Bruins as a rookie last season, and was a co-winner of the top rookie award.
“It's not really a surprise,” Lewgood said of DeRoose's return. “Going into the season, we knew it was a bit of a long shot for him to make that team.”
It is bitter-sweet news, Lewgood said. While the club is really happy to have DeRoose back in the forward ranks, Lewgood recognizes how much work DeRoose put into making Moose Jaw.
“He and I both know that after a couple weeks here, he's going to be all about the Estevan Bruins,” Lewgood said.
The club has also confirmed that they will be looking to trade 20-year-old defenceman Tyler Kauk. Kauk, who was the team's top defenceman last season, was dealt to the Flin Flon Bombers in July, but the trade was nixed because the player the Bruins' received in return, 17-year-old defenceman Conner Vermeulen, couldn't report to the Bruins since Vermeulen's family now lives in Alberta, and underaged players can't play for an out-of-province team.