But Everett Silvertips coach Mark Ferner seemed particularly pleased by what he saw from his wards this year.
The curtain came down on Silvertips training camp Sunday when the Green team came from behind to defeat the Grey team 3-1 in the annual Green vs. Grey Game, played at the Comcast Community Ice Rink.
And Ferner liked the effort he saw from the players in that game, despite having just battled through three-plus days worth of grueling scrimmages, including scrimmages played Sunday morning.
"I know there were some guys who were tired," Ferner said. "Shoot, some of them played 45 minutes before this game started. But we still saw that effort there. As far as a staff, we're pretty darned thrilled with the type of team we're starting to build here."
Veteran winger Zach McPhee scored the tiebreaking goal late in the third period, then added an empty-net tally at the end to lead Green, which trailed 1-0 going into the third.
Sixteen-year-old prospect Taylor Sanheim also scored for Green. In goal, 18-year-old invitee Troy Trombley stopped 19 of the 20 shots he faced, while 15-year-old list player Mario Petit turned away all 12 shots directed his way to earn the win.
Carson Stadnyk, a 17-year-old trying to make the team as a rookie, scored the lone goal for Grey. In goal, 15-year-old draft pick Nik Amundrud was a perfect 18-for-18, while 16-year-old invitee Blake Pearson stopped 15 of 17.
Green was held off the scoreboard and trailed 1-0 until 7 minutes, 15 seconds into the third period. That's when Sanheim, cutting in from the left, fired a shot into the top corner to tie it.
Then McPhee scored what proved to be the winning goal with 3:10 remaining, one-timing home a loose puck in the slot. McPhee clinched the win with his short-handed empty netter with 4.2 seconds remaining, following good work along the boards by defenseman Mirco Mueller.
"It was good," McPhee said about Green's victory. "It was pretty good competition and our team pulled together in last half of the game.
"We knew it was coming," McPhee added about the comeback. "We outplayed them for a lot of the first half, so we just had to keep doing the things we were doing and hopefully a puck would find the net. Fortunately it did for us."
Sunday's game concluded a camp where subtle changes were made to the format. Among those was creating a situation where veterans and rookies interacted more and even faced one another on the ice, unlike in past years were the format was designed to have the veterans play against veterans and rookies against rookies. For the most part the rookies held up well to the challenge.
"I remember when I was 14, 15 going into camps and you're kind of scared just to talk to the older guys," McPhee said. "We just tried to make the guys coming in feel as open as they could."
Those efforts were appreciated by the rookies.
"I think it helped me to prepare for the next step," Stadnyk said. "Hopefully by doing that I can crack the squad this year."
All-in-all, Ferner deemed camp a success.
"We have some real good young talent coming in here," Ferner said. "Our older guys came in pretty good shape. But the one thing from day one till the final game, the compete level was pretty darn good. We've got a lot of young talent, and I think our veterans were tremendous as far as how they interacted with the young guys.
"We certainly weren't happy with the year we had last year," Ferner added. "We wanted to change some things as far as the culture is concerned, and we just need to continue to build on that. Are we close to where we want to be? Absolutely not. But we have good kids here, some good young talent coming up. We still have a tremendous amount of tough decisions to make."
With camp concluded the team will begin formal practices Tuesday, with the first preseason games coming next weekend at the Everett Silvertips Preseason Tournament.
Sunday saw the inaugural presentation of the Volunteers Cup. The Cup, which was awarded to the championship-winning Red team from training camp's scrimmages, will be presented annually in honor of a person associated with the Silvertips. On Sunday it was awarded in honor of the late Dave Piland, Everett's former public address announcer, and was presented by his family. ... The scoring leader from training camp scrimmages was 16-year-old prospect Dawson Leedahl, who had 10 points (five goals, five assists) in six scrimmages. Veteran winger Trent Lofthouse, who is entering his 18-year-old season, led in goals with six. Trombley was camp's top goaltender with a .933 save percentage.
Green 3, Grey 1
Grey 0 1 0 -- 1
Green 0 0 3 -- 3
First Period--no goals. Penalties--Wharrie, Green (hold stick), 9:07.
Second Period--1, Grey, Stadnyk 1 (Betker, Raymond), 1:00. Penalties--Leedahl, Green (tripping), 6:18.
Third Period--2, Green, Sanheim 1 (Grayson, MacDonald), 7:15. 3, Green, McPhee 1 (Soumelidis), 16:50. 4, Green, McPhee 2 (Mueller, Adam), 19:55 (sh-en). Penalties--Omeasoo, Grey (interference), 11:41; Mappin, Green (delay of game), 19:43.
Shots on goal--Grey 13-10-9--32. Green 11-15-10--36. Power-play opportunities--Grey 0 of 3. Green 0 of 1.
Goalies--Grey, Amundrud (18 shots, 18 saves), Pearson 0-1 (15 shots, 17 saves). Green, Trombley (20 shots, 19 saves), Petit 1-0 (12 shots, 12 saves).
Check out Nick Patterson's Silvertips blog at http://www.heraldnet.com/silvertipsblog, and follow him on Twitter at NickHPatterson.
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