World Junior hopefuls from across the Ontario Hockey League representing Canada, the United States, Finland, and Sweden gathered at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Michigan, for a six-game series of exhibition contests held August 3-6 as part of summer National Junior Team development camps.
The round-robin tournament featured a total of 23 OHL players aiming to make an impression with the goal of representing their country when the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship returns to Canadian ice December 26, 2016, to January 5, 2017, in Montreal and Toronto.
Here’s a look at some of the highlights featuring top OHL performers:
Wednesday August 3 – Finland 2 vs. Canada 1 OT
Travis Konecny (Sarnia Sting) scored the lone goal for Canada who held a 1-0 lead through 40 minutes before surrendering a third period equalizer and overtime winner to the defending gold medalists.
“It felt good to get [a goal] out of the way,” said Konecny, who played on a line with fellow Team Canada returnee Lawson Crouse (Kingston Frontenacs). “It’s [my] first goal in a while, in a real game anyways, and it was a good play by the line. We seemed to have some good chemistry, we were playing well today, so it’s good that one of them paid off for us.”
Canada outshot the Finns 35-20 in the contest with Evan Cormier (Saginaw Spirit) facing seven shots in the second half of the battle.
Wednesday August 3 – United States 4 vs. Sweden 3
Team USA erased a 3-0 deficit with a trio of second period goals before Logan Brown (Windsor Spitfires) netted the game-winner with less than five minutes to play in the final frame.
Alex DeBrincat (Erie Otters) picked up an assist on Brown’s winner, while Jeremy Bracco (Kitchener Rangers) tallied an assist on the tying goal.
Friday August 5 – Finland 2 vs. United States 1
A pair of Windsor Spitfires factored into the scoring with Christian Fischer picking up an assist on Team USA’s lone goal, and Julius Nattinen helping setup Finland’s opening goal.
Friday August 5 – Sweden 5 vs. Canada 1
Team Canada outshot Sweden 38-22 but dropped a 5-1 decision to Gustav Bouramman (Soo Greyhounds) and his countrymen.
“You know, that’s how it’s going to be at the World Juniors,” said London Knights forward Mitch Marner. “You have to be ready to play your best game every game. I think it starts at this camp and I think we’re getting better every day. We’re starting to get to know each other a little better and the chemistry is coming around.”
Saturday August 6 – Sweden 3 vs. Finland 2 SO
Gustav Bouramman (Soo Greyhounds) picked up an assist on Sweden’s opening goal, while Julius Nattinen (Windsor Spitfires) tallied a second period goal.
Saturday August 6 – United States 5 vs. Canada 1
Tyler Parsons (London Knights) stopped 35 shots in goal backstopping Team USA to their second win of the Development Camp.
A pair of Windsor Spitfires picked up points in the victory including Logan Brown with his second goal of the tournament, and Christian Fischer with his second assist in three games.
Evan Cormier (Saginaw Spirit) stopped 11 of 13 shots faced between the pipes in the second half of the contest.
“I was happy with how we played,” said London Knights forward Mitch Marner. “It’s like coach said, it’s coming here and knowing the system so when you come in December you know what you have to do, you know how you have to play. Obviously you always want to win, especially with Team Canada, but this week was all about learning and making sure you’re ready for December. We didn’t come here to play easy teams; we wanted to challenge ourselves in summer time and make sure that we know what we’re going to face in December.”
For more information on Hockey Canada and the Program of Excellence, please visit HockeyCanada.ca or follow along via social media on Facebook, Twitter, and Twitter.com/HC_Men.