Prospects show high skills at Ottawa camp

KANATA, Ont. -- Ottawa Senators fans got one last dose of flash and dash from the club's prospects during Monday morning's 3-on-3 tournament, the final event of this year's development camp.

The spectator turnout was impressive, as it has been for the majority of the camp. After missing the playoffs for two out of the past three years, Sens fans are clamoring for a turnaround.

Their hopes have been buoyed by the injection of youth and its proven ability to succeed. Several faces from Binghamton's recent Calder Cup championship team have made their presence known throughout this prospect camp.

Monday's final day saw the prospects split into six mini-teams, with games taking place in round-robin format, followed by a semi-final and final playoff. 

The day was highlighted by some scoring exploits from left wing Mike Hoffman and defender Mark Borowiecki, who tied for the tournament lead with three goals each.

Borowiecki was also the recipient of the camp's "Hardest Worker" award.

It also featured some pretty hard hits, perhaps best epitomized  when Team Blue's Ben Blood, living up to his bruiser-like surname by crushing Stephan Da Costa into the corner with a bone-crushing hit.

There was no shortage of creativity either as right wing Stefan Noesen's signature spin-a-rama, making at least three appearances during Team Blue games.

And, despite all the offensive highlights, there was some good goaltending Monday as well.

Undrafted 19-year-old G Matt O'Connor of the USHL's Youngtown Phantoms robbed several opponents with highlight-worthy saves. At 6-foot-6, O'Connor covers a fair bit of net and was riding a red-hot glove hand Monday.

When it was all said and done, all the heroics led to the knockout games, which featured a pair of 1-0 decisions. The first came in the semifinals when Team Gray upended top-seeded Team Red when center Jean-Gabriel Pageau beat goalie Adam Janecyk for the game's only goal.

Then, in the final, right wing Matt stone, on a nice feed from Ben Blood, scored the lone goal to claim the championship for Team Blue.

But, some of the biggest news this week had little to do with what happened on the ice, but rather the decision of one of the Senators' top prospects, Jakob Silfverberg, to stay in Sweden for the upcoming season.

Silfverberg, Ottawa's second-round pick, No. 39, in the 2009 Entry Draft, made many positive impressions throughout the six days, but refused to budge on his desire to return to Europe for another season.

"Overall, I'm glad with how I did in camp," Silfverberg said. "I always find it fun to come to Ottawa and practice. It was kind of hard, but we were having fun out there on the ice and that's what matters.

"But I'm set on going back to Sweden. I'm very happy (that the Senators) have such high thoughts about me, but my mind is (in Sweden). Hopefully, it's where I'm going to play next season."

By remaining with Brynas of the Swedish Elite League next year, the young forward believes he can better prepare for his eventual NHL future.