Five Players Sent Packing after loss to U of A squad

Team Canada has trimmed their World Junior selection camp roster by five on Dec. 12, following a 4-1 loss to the University of Alberta Golden Bears men’s hockey team yesterday afternoon at the Markin MacPhail Centre.

Among the cuts were three forwards and two defensemen.

Adam Pelech, D Club Team: Erie Otters (OHL)
Drafted: New York Islanders 2012 3rd Round Pick (65th overall)

• Derrick Pouliot, D Club Team: Portland Winterhawks (WHL)

Drafted: Pittsburgh Penguins 2012 1st Round Pick (8th Overall)

• Sean Monahan, C Club Team: Ottawa 67’s (OHL)
Drafted: Eligible 2013

• Francis Beauvillier, LW Club Team: Rimouski Oceanic (QMJHL)
Drafted: Florida Panthers 2012 6th Round Pick (174th Overall)

• Tyler Graovac, C Club Team: Ottawa 67’s (OHL)
Drafted: Minnesota Wild 2011 7th Round Pick (191st Overall)

Youngster Nathan MacKinnon rushes the puck out of his own end in the Red & White game on Tuesday. He is one of two 17 year-olds trying to crack the Team Canada lineup.

Photo by Lucas Silva

Team Canada’s players were put on their heels early, allowing three goals in the opening 10 minutes of the game. Goaltender Malcolm Subban looked shaky, allowing the goals on only seven shots.

As Subban gained some composure, it seemed the boys in red became more confident as well, getting pucks deep and grinding it out in the Golden Bear’s end. They were rewarded for their efforts when defenseman Frank Corrado, a Vancouver Canucks prospect, somewhat uncharacteristically jumped in from the blueline and blew a wrist-shot past fellow Team Canada hopeful Laurent Brossoit, a Calgary Flames prospect.

Corrado had also scored in the Red and White game on Tuesday, which saw Team Canada hopefuls pitted against each other, making him the camp’s leading scorer. He knows that his offensive output will help catch the eye of Team Canada brass, but that he needs to play a complete game to make the final roster for the World Juniors, taking place in Ufa Russia, beginning on Boxing Day.

“I just wanted to keep my game simple and steady. I was able to do that, and get rewarded with a couple goals,” Corrado said. “The simple, steady, defense-first game has sort of paid off right now. Obviously the goals are good. I hope it kind of forces their hand a little bit but the main focus for me is smart defensive hockey because I know that’s what’s going to win Team Canada games.”

Corrado said that in preparation for Wednesday night’s cuts, all players were told to pack their bags in case they received a phone call that would end their camp early. He commented on how fast the camp really is, and how in such a short amount of time the players have to show Team Canada brass what they are made of in just four ice times over a span of only three days.
“It’s really fast; you don’t have much time and you have to do a lot with the shifts you’re given. You’re going quick and you have to make the most of it,” he added.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins tosses a pass out to the slot in the Red & White game on Tuesday. He is considered a lock to make Team Canada.

Photo by Lucas Silva

Aside from the goal, the Team Canada hopefuls didn’t seem to create many positives for head coach Steve Spott and the rest of the Team Canada coaching staff. The game was a physical affair, but there is a fine line between playing a good physical game and running around undisciplined out on the ice.

“I thought the referees did a good job,” Said Spott. “I didn’t like the discipline of the hockey club, especially in the second period.”

Spott mentioned that today’s loss could have come down to Team Canada not respecting their opponent.

“I think there’s a good lesson there, we talked about no matter who you play at this level, you have to respect your opponent. As we go through that tournament we’re going to see different levels of different competition and I think the lesson tonight was respect your opponent.

The lack of scoring throughout the camp thus far also had Spott concerned. He said that players in different roles need to step up and play up to that role.

“In an evaluation like this, if you’re an offensive player, you’ve got to find ways to create offense,” Spott said. “If you’re a guy that’s a physical type player you’ve got to find ways to keep being physical. I think it’s a lesson learned. Obviously, I think our offensive players have to create more offense.”

Spott concluded by saying that no single player stood out to him, but the two goalies that played for the Golden Bears – Laurent Brossoit and Jake Paterson – played very well.

Not going home empty handed

Jonathan Drouin enters the offensive zone during the Red & White game on Tuesday. He is one of two 17 year-olds trying to crack the lineup.

Photo by Lucas Silva

Later in the day, the five players who were sent packing gave their last interviews from camp.

Tyler Graovac, with a smile on his face, said this about being let go – “It’s a drag, I have nothing but respect though, for Team Canada and I wish them all the best. Not much you can say, it was a great opportunity coming here, they gave me the opportunity to come here and try my best, and I gave it my all.”

Despite being cut, Derrick Pouliot understood the tough decision the coaches had to make.

“There are a lot of good d-men at this camp and the coaches have to make the decisions and unfortunately I was one of the guys that got let go,” he said.

Sean Monahan said that all he can do now is use getting cut as motivation, while Adam Pelech had the same idea, saying he will take what he experienced here back to his club team and try to finish off strong.

Team Canada still has more tough decisions to make as 31 players remain at camp. Including four goalies, 10 d-men, and 17 forwards. Only 23 will make the final roster and go overseas to Ufa. The camp will conclude Dec. 13 following a game against a team of Canadian Interuniversity Sport all-stars, including players from the U of C Dinos, the University of Lethbridge Horns, and the Mount Royal Cougars. The puck drops at 12 p.m. at Rink A of the Markin MacPhail Centre.

Final cuts will be made following the game and the team will officially be announced on Friday. They will practice one more time on Saturday before heading overseas for the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship in Ufa, Russia.

ajsmith@cjournal.ca