Sheifele shines in Jets win

Senators defenceman Eric Gryba fights for control of the puck with Jets forward Jim Slater in St....

Senators defenceman Eric Gryba fights for control of the puck with Jets forward Jim Slater in St. John's, Nfld., Sep. 26, 2011. (GRET LOCKE/Reuters)

CHRIS STEVENSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:33 PM ET

ST. JOHN'S - Mark Scheifele has got one of those names you have to keep looking up to make sure you're spelling it right the first few times.

The way things are going, that's probably not going to be a problem for too long.

The Winnipeg Jets 18-year-old rookie scored his third goal of the pre-season as the Jets beat the Ottawa Senators 3-1 in the annual Kraft Hockeyville game, this year honouring Conception Bay South.

Let the hype continue.

Scheifele, the seventh pick overall last summer, opened the scoring on the power play 79 seconds into the second period, moments after he had dished a nice little backhand pass that resulted in a scoring chance and a save by Senators goaltender Alex Auld, who swatted the puck back into the slot where Scheifele, knowing where you go to score goals, was there to whack it home.

Scheifele is doing little to discourage all that talk about the future being now and it being in Winnipeg, not in Barrie where the Colts of the Ontario Hockey League play.

"That's obviously my goal. I want to make Winnipeg. It's my ultimate goal. I'm going to work my hardest," Scheifele said. "I've got to just keep working hard and playing my game."

Scheifele admitted his selection at seven -- a little higher than some had forecast -- gave him some incentive to show he was worthy of the Jets' confidence.

"I wanted to prove myself and I wanted to show I was the right pick," he said. "I wanted to come in and be one of the hardest working players, just do whatever it took to make the team."

As the pre-season winds down, the Jets and other teams will be making roster cuts today, which means the lineups for the last couple of games will be stronger, featuring more NHL veterans.

If Scheifele gets another game, it will be against stronger competition.

"It's definitely going to be another big adjustment. This game was a bigger adjustment from Nashville and that was a bigger adjustment from Columbus. I think I just have to keep working hard and keep on adapting, getting those first few shifts and getting used to the speed," he said.

He's still got some growing to do, but he said his off-season preparation is helping him now.

Jets coach Claude Noel said he liked the way Scheifele bounced back after a dip which came after his four-point debut against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

"I think my body has been holding up pretty good and I worked hard in the summer to be able to withstand the grind," he said.

"Scheifele, I thought, played intelligent," said Jets coach Claude Noel. "That's what you need to find out. When you look back, I think fatigue was a factor in the Nashville game. He looked tired. You want to see those things. Smart. Good stick. He looked real good."

Winnipeg's Troy Bodie made it 2-0 at 16:24 of the second when he beat Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson coming out of the right wing corner, took a pass from Patrice Cormier and beating Auld.

Ottawa's own 18-year-old, Mika Zibanejad, made it a one-goal game at 5:45 of the third on the power play, making a dandy move. He shifted the puck from forehand to backhand and back to forehand to maneuver the puck around the right pad of Winnipeg goaltender Ondrej Pavelec and tuck it inside the post.

Not a bad night for the teenagers.

Winnipeg's Ben Maxwell made it 3-1 at 13:37 when the Senators had four rookies on the ice and got caught running around a bit.

The two teams played a pretty entertaining game for the Kraft Hockeyville crowd at Mile One Centre. There was a pretty good pace at times, dictated by the Jets, some good hits and a scrap between Senators winger Chris Neil and Winnipeg's Bodie as the second period ended.

Cormier scrapped with Ottawa's Eric Gryba in the third when Cormier didn't like Gryba's hit on Bodie. Cormier was handed an instigator penalty, but despite a couple of good chances, the Senators couldn't tie it on the power play.

Auld didn't finish the game because of some muscle cramping, leaving the net for the third period in favour of Mike McKenna.

Senators veteran defenceman Chris Phillips had some tightness in his back and was lifted as a precautionary measure.

chris.stevenson@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/CJ_Stevenson


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