Two days ago at the start of Flyers rookie training camp, Wade Allison twice said this was "go time."
He meant it.
Despite the stakes not exactly being high in a rookie exhibition game, Allison didn't care. His personality doesn't change with the circumstances. He showed he was in go-time mode on Saturday at the Rangers' practice facility in Tarrytown, New York.
During the first period, the Flyers' prospect dropped the gloves with Rangers prospect Matthew Rempe, who is a 6-foot-8, 240-pound forward. The fight was no cheapie. Many punches were thrown and connected by both players. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer's Olivia Reiner, the 19-year-old Rempe skated off with a bloody face. He did stay in the game, which was streamed live on YouTube by the Rangers. You can watch the fight right here. The Flyers beat the Rangers, 6-3 (see five observations here).
For Allison, he wasn't pleased with a Rangers hit on one of his teammates.
"It was a physical game out there," Allison said, via an interview with Flyers senior director of communications Zack Hill. "I didn't like the hit early, I didn't like it at all, so I had to step up. Just had to kind of set the tone. That's part of our identity, we don't let that s--- happen to us. We stick up for each other and we've always got each other's back, so that's all that was today."
Just a rookie game, huh? Clearly not to Allison, who plays with a moxie and spirit. He put those qualities on display during his 14-game audition with the Flyers at the end of last season. Allison saw his NHL debut on April 15 and kept himself in the lineup with four goals, three assists and good energy for a team that needed it.
Allison, who turns 24 in October, could have an inside track at a spot in the Flyers' season-opening lineup on Oct. 15. The competition in main training camp will be high, though, after the Flyers' active offseason in which the club added Cam Atkinson, Derick Brassard and Nate Thompson to its group of forwards.
"I like the challenge," Allison said Thursday. "They set up a team, they want to win and I'm going to do whatever I can to make the squad, hopefully help out. I'm here to work, I'm here to do whatever they need me to do. It's exciting, it really is exciting — they put a big challenge in front of us young guys, but it's good, that's what we all want."
What did AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley head coach Ian Laperriere think of Allison's spunk in Saturday's rookie game?
"I love it," he said, via an interview with Hill. "You know me, I love that stuff. He showed that he's willing to do whatever it takes to make the big team, but he's showing the bench that he'll protect his teammates. I know fighting is not part of the game anymore, but for me personally, I kind of like to see that."
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