Dallas Stars intra-squad game in Charlottetown Sunday.
Much has been made about native Islanders Brad Richards‚Äô and Steve Ott‚Äôs homecoming during the Dallas Stars training camp in Charlottetown and neither disappointed the fans during the team‚Äôs 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.
‚ÄúIt was kind of a neat way to finish for sure,‚Äô‚Äô 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 crowd‚Äôs 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 Black‚Äôs 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.
‚ÄúThe fan support was phenomenal. We‚Äôre 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 you‚Äôre actually playing a real game and, you know showing up is what the atmosphere felt like.‚Äô‚Äô 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.
‚Äú(I was) hoping I didn‚Äôt fumble it like I did the breakaway or the penalty shot.‚Äô‚Äô
Richards, who underwent arthroscopic hip surgery in April, said he is focusing on rehabbing during camp and it is a work in progress.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs not there yet but you know, this is what training camp is for. I‚Äôve got two or three weeks to make sure it‚Äôs good. I‚Äôll be fine for opening night.‚Äô‚Äô
Ott said it was great to see the enthusiasm and the fan support from Islanders at the game.
‚ÄúThe fan support was phenomenal. We‚Äôre 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 you‚Äôre actually playing a real game and, you know showing up is what the atmosphere felt like.‚Äô‚Äô
Despite the fact both he and Richards are both from P.E.I., Ott joked he wasn‚Äôt on the Island long enough to have the same stature his teammate enjoys in their home province.
‚ÄúI left pretty young so unfortunately I didn‚Äôt get to become a cornerstone or a mayor like Brad Richards.‚Äô‚Äô
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 Richards‚Äô former team, Tampa Bay Lightning, on Tuesday.