Canada’s National Junior Team hopefuls took a 3-2 victory over the U SPORTS All-Stars in a shootout marathon at the Q Centre in Victoria, BC.
The first of three matchups between the two sides saw Jack Studnicka (Oshawa Generals) scored twice in regulation before Shane Bowers netted the deciding goal in the ninth round of the shootout.
“It was our first game together with the line combinations and being together in general,” Studnicka said following the win. “I think we gelled pretty good, they played a fast game and we matched the high tempo. Coming out on the winning side that’s a good feeling going into tomorrow. For the next two games, we just have to stick to the plan, make better decisions with the puck at some times, but keep playing at a high pace, high tempo. Tim wants to be a fast team and I think that’s our biggest attribute – our speed.”
Morgan Frost (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds) chipped in with a pair of assists while goaltenders Michael DiPietro (Ottawa 67’s) and Ian Scott (Prince Albert Raiders) combined to turn aside 26 of 28 shots for the win. In goal for the U SPORTS All-Stars, Matthew Villalta (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds) stopped 28 shots.
U SPORTS goals came from CHL graduates in Christopher Clapperton (Rimouski Océanic/UNB) and Luke Philp (Red Deer Rebels/Alberta).
In the shootout, Joe Veleno (Drummondville Voltigeurs), Frost (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds), Alexis Lafrenière (Rimouski Océanic) and Bowers scored on their attempts for Canada while Riley Sheen (Red Deer Rebels/Calgary), Slater Doggett (Windsor Spitfires/Queen’s) and Hunter Garlent (Peterborough Petes/Saint Mary’s) found the back of the net for U SPORTS.
“I liked the speed, I liked the skill. The goaltending was really good at both ends,” Canadian World Junior head coach Tim Hunter (Moose Jaw Warriors) remarked following the victory.
The two sides meet again on Thursday in Victoria, BC when the puck drops at 9:00pm ET/6:00pm PT.