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INTRASQUAD GAME THEN TOUGH DECISIONS

September 14th, 2020 @ 3:15 pm

 

By GORDON ANDERSON

Daily Herald-Tribune

The Grande Prairie Storm finished up main camp with a final intrasquad game at Revolution Place on Friday night, Team White picking up a 6-4 win over Team Blue.

Devin Aubin cut the Team White advantage to 5-4 with less than five minutes left in the game, but Paycen Bjorklund potted an empty-net goal to seal the deal for the winning club.

“Any time you can have a one-goal game, there was an empty-net goal, so it was a close game,” Storm GM and Head Coach Mike Vandekamp said. “I always try to put an emphasis on, as a coach, if you’re picking your intrasquad game at the end of camp, you want to pick a tie (because) at least you got to know your players well enough to pick two balanced teams.”

Former Grande Peace Athletic Club U18 AAA Storm forward Hudson Foley had his best game in camp, in terms of offensive output, with two goals and two assists.

The teen normally plays centre but the move to the wing was, perhaps, a show me what you can do scenario, a versatility play by Vandekamp.

“I’m not big on individualizing players this early in the process but I thought he played good on Friday, for sure” Vandekamp said. “The move to the wing was something we didn’t talk about, I just did it to see how he (would) react. He ended up scoring a couple of goals and it was his best game of the camp, production wise.”

“I was playing wing for the first time on Friday and I was lucky to get a couple of nice passes (from Ty Toews and Robert Pizzey) and was able to put them away,” Foley said. “It felt pretty good.”

Bjorklund scored two goals for white while Jaydon Gordey and Ty Toews scored for the while squad.

Aubin scored twice for the guys in blue, Nathan Bierd and Austin Schellenberg adding singles.

Team White led 4-2 after one period of play and 5-3 after two periods of action.

The first time

Friday night spelled the end for Foley, in terms of his first experience at a Junior A training camp. All the teen can do now is wait and see what happens with the roster cuts, but the Teepee Creek resident is now all the wiser after the two-week journey.

“It’s been lots of fun, but Vandekamp puts us through a lot of work,” Foley said. “It’s nice to have someone who pushes you and wants you to be better all the time. I really enjoyed it.”

Difficult decisions ahead

And now the most difficult task of camp begins as Vandekamp and assistant coach Sam Waterfield will have to make some tough decisions, the head coach wanting to get his roster quickly shaved down to a working development camp number.

“We started on the Aug. 30 with 36 players and we still have all those players,” Vandekamp said. “We finished up camp with a full group and that was what we wanted to do. Now we (have) to make some decisions and those decisions will be made by the coaching staff, basically myself and Waterfield, to make sure we get to 25 players. We have a good template of what we want to follow so we’re going to cut the number down (on Saturday) morning, take a day and a half off and start with our group on Monday.”

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