By Al MacLeod
It was the highlight of the Dallas Stars training camp in Charlottetown and it lived up to its billing.
The organization's intra-squad game provided a number of pretty goals, fast action and some physical play to entertain the 3,000-plus fans that came out to watch the NHL team put on a show.
One player who Island fans were especially excited to see was Summerside-native and nine-year NHL veteran Steve Ott.
Ott, playing for team white, was able to deliver by providing a goal in his team's eventual 4-3 shootout loss to team black
Picking up the rebound on a nice play by Jamie Benn, Ott sent the crowd into a loud cheer during the third period to tie the game at 2-2.
Ott described his goal following the game.
"Playing alongside Jamie Benn, he makes things a lot easier out there," he said.
"He skated up the ice made a couple of nice moves broke in deep, had a nice shot and I picked up some garbage around the net and put it in. Hopefully you'll see that a lot this year if I get the opportunity to play with him. He's such a gifted player that there's going to be a lot of loose pucks laying around."
Ott notched 12 goals and 20 assists for 32 points in 82 games last season with the Stars.
He said having the training camp on the Island is a great way to start the season.
"I had a lot of people coming up to me the last couple of days and they know that I haven't spent the most time here on the Island but my family did and they've taken a hold of me and made me one of their own. It's definitely been a nice experience," Ott said.
"Everybody's been first class and I have only positive things to say and especially being here has been a lot of fun. You want to work harder when you see a crowd come out to support the community and our team and it makes it easier to go out there and try hard."
First-year head coach Glen Gulutzan agreed with Ott's assessment of the training camp on the Island and has enjoyed working at the CARI Centre.
"(The facilities) are fabulous," Gulutzan said.
"We have two rinks side-by side, we have a nice field outside for the guys to do stretching, the weather's been great and coming (to the Charlottetown Civic Centre) to play in the big rink has been perfect so it's a real good setup for us."
Radek Dvorak and Vernon Fiddler provided the other goals for team white, while Francis Wathier, Travis Morin and team captain Brendan Morrow replied for team black before Tom Wandell scored in the shootout to give his team the win.
All five goalies in camp got playing time throughout the game for both teams.
The team will wrap up camp on Tuesday before flying to Montreal for an exhibition game against the Canadians at 7:30 p.m.