As followers of Junior Hockey, it’s always great to see the future endeavours of the players we had the privilege to watch. What makes this even easier is when some of these grads are pursuing their professional hockey dreams here in the city we began watching them.
This week, the NHL’s Ottawa Senators hosted their prospect development camp. For 67’s fans, it was a nice taste of the past, present and possibly the future with a trio of 67's taking part.
Corey Cowick, a native or nearby Gloucester who spent two seasons with the Barberpoles from 2008 to 2010, has been splitting time in the AHL and ECHL since being drafted by the Senators in 2009. Shane Prince, who is believed to be coming to agreements with the Sens on an entry level contract which would likely end his Junior career, spent two and a half years as a 67 and was drafted 61st overall in 2011. Cody Ceci, who may very well be sent back to Junior next season, rounded out the trio of 67’s in this scrimmage. He was drafted a week ago at 15th overall by Ottawa.
On Thursday night, the prospects were split into two teams for a two-period scrimmage open to fans.
-Ceci and Prince get loud ovations as they’re introduced before the game.
-Ceci (wearing #38 for Team White) plays the entirety of the scrimmage with a large, physical defenceman across from him. He starts the game playing with tough guy Mark Borowiecki. With only five defencemen for Team White, Ceci spends the evening as the right defenceman alongside both Borowiecki and 6’4 Michael Sdoa.
-Cowick (wearing #54 for Team Black) also starts the game. He lines up alongside Stefan Noesen and Mike Zibanejad. With Zibanejad alternating between right wing and center, he spends the majority of the night on a unit with Cowick, although the third member of the line was often different.
-Prince (wearing #10 for Team White) is the only 67 not on a starting line, although he checks in just 45 seconds into the scrimmage. He played as the left winger for a line centered by Wacey Hamilton with Cole Schneider on the right side for the entire night.
-Team Black carries the physical presence early on and the duo of Cowick and Zibanejad are doing the majority of the hitting.
-Prince does what he does best, showing that he could stickhandle in a phone booth. Makes a lot of quick, effective plays using his speed and stickhandling. A number of great passing plays and smart drop passes between Prince, Hamilton & Schneider.
-Ceci given all day to set up a shot from the point as Team Black collapses to the net. He finally fires and his shot ends up hitting Cowick. Cowick goes down awkwardly but quickly gets back up. Team White, in particular Ceci, Mark Stone and Jean-Gabriel Pageau, put on a clinic in the offencive zone, hemming Black in for a solid minute and a half.
-Although he isn’t known for his hard-nosed play, Ceci steps up in the neutral zone and lays a solid hit on Brad Peltz. Ceci also takes big hit from Jakub Culek, doesn’t go down. Using his size advantage along the boards.
-First period ends scoreless.
-In between periods, as the teams wanted to let the flooded ice surface dry, they took part in a mini-shootout. With each team having scored on their first shots, Prince is the only 67 to shoot in the shootout, going five-hole on Robin Lehner for what ends up being the shootout-winning goal.
-Cowick is taken down just three minutes into the final period leading to a penalty shot. Cowick fires a hard wrister that beats goaltender Chris Driedger but not the cross-bar, game stays scoreless.
-Prince goes for a 1-on-4 rush as his linemates are changing. Cowick ends up taking a run at Prince, narrowly missing.
-Mike Hoffman scores what ends up being the only goal of the night. No 67’s get points, but Cody Ceci is on the ice and is a +1.
While this scrimmage was a nice way to see these players developed by the 67’s, all three are at different stages in their young careers and what happens from here on out is anyone’s guess. With that being said, we’re hoping that all three of these guys, teammates with the Barberpoles in the 2009-10 season, end up playing in the Nation’s Capital again someday.