Sure it was only a scrimmage, but when the battle for the two goaltending positions on Canada's 2005 world junior team is so close, any shutout must be seen as a bonus. Winnipeg's Rejean Beauchemin took an important first step yesterday, turning aside all nine shots he faced to lead Team Red to a 3-1 victory over Team White in intrasquad action last night before a crowd of roughly 300 fans at the MTS Centre.
"You only have one chance to make a first impression and I feel I left a good one," said Beauchemin. "You don't win gold medals being judged in practice, I've got to give it my all in the last two games and hopefully it works out."
Returnees Stephen Dixon, Jeff Carter and Jeremy Colliton, into an empty net, scored goals for Team Red, while Sidney Crosby scored the lone goal for Team White on a highlight-reel special.
Crosby, who leads the CHL in scoring, took a pass at the offensive blue-line, powered past defenceman Alexandre Picard and beat Devan Dubnyk, waiting for the goalie to go down before he buried a backhand over him.
Head coach Brent Sutter was happy with the intensity level and the effort of his veteran players.
"(Carter) was probably the best player on the ice," said Sutter, who said intangibles would be important in determining the final 22-man roster.
Aside from his impressive goal, Carter dished out the biggest hit of the contest, nailing fellow returnee Brent Seabrook into the end boards late in the second period.
"Things were going my way, our line was clicking," said Carter, who played with Ryan Getzlaf and David Bolland. "It was a good first step."
Seabrook, who was favouring his right shoulder, remained on the bench for the second period and tested his range of motion, but didn't come out for the third.
Sutter said Seabrook would "be fine. He'll be day-to-day."
Team Canada returns to the ice today, with sessions at 9:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. and will continue its game action with contests against the University of Manitoba Bisons at 6 o'clock tonight and tomorrow night at the MTS Centre.
GOING FAST: Tickets for Monday's exhibition game featuring Canada and Finland are selling so well, the Manitoba Moose announced yesterday they'll be opening up the upper bowl for that game at the MTS Centre.
More than 8,000 seats have already been sold.