Dallas Stars intra-squad game in Charlottetown Sunday.
Much has been made about native Islanders Brad Richardsâ€™ and Steve Ottâ€™s homecoming during the Dallas Stars training camp in Charlottetown and neither disappointed the fans during the teamâ€™s intra-squad game Sunday at the Charlottetown Civic Centre.
Playing in front of a near-capacity crowd, Ott tallied a goal and an assist while Richards drained a buzzer beater into an empty net in a 5-3 win for Team Black.
â€œIt was kind of a neat way to finish for sure,â€™â€™ Richards said of his goal after the game.
Even though this was an intra-squad game, it was at times a physical affair that saw centre Tom Wandell sustain an upper-body injury early in the game when he crashed shoulder first into the boards after a hit. Team officials said he will be re-evaluated today.
The physical play came to a peak when Stars tough guy Krys Barch dropped the gloves with prospect Luke Gazdic and traded a number of haymakers near the end of the game.
The first period saw Jamie Benn open the scoring for Team Black at 8:13 with Ott drawing an assist. Ott would add a goal on a penalty shot at 18:25, much to the crowdâ€™s delight, to put Team Black up 2-0 going into the intermission.
Team White got back into the game with Stars captain Brenden Morrow scoring goals at 5:41 and 9:19 before Toby Petersen put Team White up front 3-2 with a goal at 10:53. Team Blackâ€™s Fabian Brunnstrom tied the game at 3-3 at 14:54 going into the break.
The final frame saw three penalty shots with both Morrow and Richards denied and James Neal scoring to put Team Black up 4-3. With time ticking down and the Team White net empty, Richards erupted the crowd, scoring an empty net goal with .04 seconds left on the clock.
â€œThe fan support was phenomenal. Weâ€™re not used to this. Dallas training camp, when we play, there might be 100 people so to have a sold out barn you have to pick yourself up and make sure youâ€™re actually playing a real game and, you know showing up is what the atmosphere felt like.â€™â€™ Stars forward and native Islander Steve Ott
Richards said he was waiting for the final horn to go but was happy he slipped the goal in before time expired.
â€œ(I was) hoping I didnâ€™t fumble it like I did the breakaway or the penalty shot.â€™â€™
Richards, who underwent arthroscopic hip surgery in April, said he is focusing on rehabbing during camp and it is a work in progress.
â€œItâ€™s not there yet but you know, this is what training camp is for. Iâ€™ve got two or three weeks to make sure itâ€™s good. Iâ€™ll be fine for opening night.â€™â€™
Ott said it was great to see the enthusiasm and the fan support from Islanders at the game.
â€œThe fan support was phenomenal. Weâ€™re not used to this. Dallas training camp, when we play, there might be 100 people so to have a sold out barn you have to pick yourself up and make sure youâ€™re actually playing a real game and, you know showing up is what the atmosphere felt like.â€™â€™
Despite the fact both he and Richards are both from P.E.I., Ott joked he wasnâ€™t on the Island long enough to have the same stature his teammate enjoys in their home province.
â€œI left pretty young so unfortunately I didnâ€™t get to become a cornerstone or a mayor like Brad Richards.â€™â€™
The Stars end their training camp on P.E.I. today with a practice at the The Mac at 8:30 a.m. before leaving for Dallas at 2 p.m. The team opens the NHL preseason schedule at home against Richardsâ€™ former team, Tampa Bay Lightning, on Tuesday.