SUN Hockey Pool

SuperSkills surprises

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:41 AM ET

A few of the big dogs stayed on the bench but the underdogs rose to the occasion at the Calgary Flames SuperSkills competition.

While Robyn Regehr and Miikka Kiprusoff watched from the sidelines as their teammates in white earned a 12-6 victory over Team Red at the Saddledome, Andrei Zyuzin and Richie Regehr were surprising the more than 14,000 screaming fans in attendance with their performances on the ice yesterday morning.

Zyuzin clocked the hardest shot at 99.1 m.p.h. in his second effort. Even his first attempt, an impressive 98.8, would have been enough to edge Flames captain Jarome Iginla (97.9) and the favoured Dion Phaneuf (96.9).

The unheralded winner knew he wasn't on anyone's handicapping list heading in.

"Nobody's picking me any time," said Zyuzin. "At least I won that.

"Still, the radar's probably showing the wrong number."

In the spirit of the fun, fan-focused event, Zyuzin -- who has been a healthy scratch eight times since Jan. 1 -- earned some laughs at his own expense during an on-ice interview following his victory.

"I just want to get in the lineup," he cracked.

Roman Hamrlik and Robyn Regehr boast heavy shots but both enjoyed a little extra rest after games on back-to-back nights.

Another unexpected victory came in the accuracy competition, where Richie Regehr -- sidelined with a concussion since Boxing Day -- nailed all four targets in five shots.

Andrew Ference and Alex Tanguay also hit all five bull's-eyes but it took Ference six tries and Tanguay seven.

Regehr may have been perfect in his NHL skills debut if not for a post.

"I did it in junior once, I had 4-for-4," said Regehr, whose flawless junior display came while messing around after the actual competition.

He wasn't going to participate yesterday but the Flames were a little short on bodies.

"It was good to get out there and just be on the ice, see all the fans," said Regehr. "It's amazing how many came out. I wasn't expecting that many."

The fans probably weren't expecting to see some of the results they witnessed, either, but Ference says the players knew top honour in every event was up for grabs.

"You never know," said Ference. "People talk about parity in teams, not knowing who's going to win on any single night for regular games. You look at players around the league, everybody's got a really good skill set, no matter if they're fourth line, first line, whatever. This is the elite.

"I think that people probably in the stands are a lot more surprised than guys on the ice. We all know on any given day, we're all pretty tight."

Of course, the marquee names were no slouches. Tanguay and Kristian Huselius brought out some big moves during the breakaway relay.

Tanguay made a last minute backhand tap-in with his stick as far from his body as possible. But words can't do justice to Huselius' trick. He put the puck and his stick between his legs, flipped the puck onto his backhand and banked it in off the post as goalie Jamie McLennan watched in amazement.

McLennan later pulled off a few poke checks in the second round.

"I wanted to, because I was starting to get grumpy that guys were, like, really showboating," said McLennan. "But it was certainly fun."

With Matthew Lombardi resting his wheels, Jeff Friesen was crowned fastest skater.

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AND THE WINNERS ARE ...

- PUCK CONTROL -- Andrew Ference

- FASTEST SKATER -- Jeff Friesen (13.839 seconds)

- HARDEST SHOT -- Andrei Zyuzin (99.1 m.p.h.)

- SHOOTING ACCURACY -- Richie Regehr (4 of 5 targets)


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