Realty One

Tuesday, December 13, 2016


BOISBRIAND, Que. - Blake Speers was anxious heading into camp over whether the wrist he broke in October would hold up enough for him to make Canada's team for the world junior championship.

All went well as Speers - the captain of his hometown Sault St. Marie Greyhounds - helped set up a goal and the juniors downed the U Sports all-stars 3-0 on Tuesday afternoon, less than 24 hours after beating the national student selects 5-3 at the Centre d'Excellence Sports Rousseau.

Four cuts were made after the game. Defenceman Victor Mete of the London Knights and forwards Nick Merkley of the Kelowna Rockets, Brett Howden of the Moose Jaw Warriors and Austin Wagner of the Regina Pats were returned to their teams.

Coach Dominique Ducharme said camp, which started with 31 players, will likely be trimmed to the final 22 either Tuesday night or on Wednesday.

The junior team concludes its four-day selection camp with a game Wednesday night against the Czech Republic.

Roy, defenceman Mete and Howden scored for Canada, which outshot U Sports 27-15.

With both teams playing a second game in less than 24 hours, neither side looked sharp. But the juniors' edge in speed and skill, as well as seven power play opportunities, eventually prevailed.

To give all three of Canada's goalies playing time, Canada's Michael McNiven played the entire game for U Sports, while Carter Hart and Connor Ingram split time in the Canada net.

Those who did not get into the game on Monday night all played Tuesday.

Canada's scratches included the returning players from last year's team - - Dylan Strome, Ryan Barzal, Thomas Chabot, Julien Gauthier and Mitchell Stephens.

Canada leads U Sports 14-6 all-time in selection camp exhibition games.



Anonymous said...

That would be a surprise.
A coach named Dominique Ducharme cutting three WHLers.
Who'd a thunk it.

Anonymous said...

Howden has been killing it for the Warriors since he returned and he scored in the exhibition game, so I'm a bit surprised he was cut so early. Wagner is a speed demon but apparently the brass felt they were fast enough without him. Steel is still in the mix and should make the Team Canada squad. Looking forward to seeing him represent the Pats in the WJC! Also looking forward to seeing Wagner and Howden tangle at this weekend's home and home series with Moose Jaw! Exciting times for Saskatchewan Jr hockey folks, get out there and support your teams!! Go Pats Go!!!

Anonymous said...

Anon #1. There are good players in the other leagues also. It's not always some kind of conspiracy.

thestoneman said...

A coach from the QMJHL only chooses the majority of players from Eastern Canada.

Who the "hell" is Ryan Barzal - let's get it right "MATT BARZAL"

Keeping a guy who is a poor skater - Raddysh and a guy playing his first hockey of the year after breaking his wrist "Speers" over Howden and Wagner

Anonymous said...

This isn't an all-star team folks!

Austin Wagner has speed to burn but isn't a natural with the puck. While his skills have definitely improved at the league level I would question his ability on the world stage.

By math, the odds of a WHL player being released was at the highest because they represent the largest chunk of players attending. Untie your panties.

Anonymous said...

Rather than conspiracy I firmly believe that these teams are picked long before these so called "Selection Camps". Hockey Canada is feeding us a bunch of crap! They pick these kids years in advance with a lot having to do with selection to other Canadian teams, draft rating, but most of all "POLITICS". There needs to be a certain number from each league regardless of ability. They rotate coaches between the leagues and it's truly the epitome of the "old boys club". They reward loyalty to the party line rather than winning gold. If you take a low level assistant coach position you get worked up and eventually an assistant to the big team and of course eventually HC.

Coaches who say they are there to win regardless where they pick from don't usually get selected. The Sutter's weren't great fits because they won't play Hockey Canada's politics. A guy who was let go by the lowly Islanders is chief scout? Yup this garbage never changes and neither will the result once again this year.

Anonymous said...

McNiven is a third rater but will likely make the team…..

Anonymous said...

Every year they've dominated the team has been top heavy with western kids.

That won't be the case this year and they'll get beat.