Canadian junior prospects blank U Sports All-Stars to sweep two-game exhibition series

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 Brett Howden, a first-round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning, scored once and added an assist as the Canadian under-20 junior prospects blanked a national all-star team from U Sports 3-0 on Monday afternoon.

 

The result gave the junior team a lifetime record of 15-6 in 21 confrontations with a variety of university formations since 1988.

The prospects, which featured a dress-list composed of 22 NHL draft picks, had a 27-15 edge in shots in the exhibition game, which was played at the Centre d’Excellence Sports Rousseau, home of the QMJHL’s Blainville-Boisbriand Armada.

The shot discrepancy was largely as a result of penalties as the U Sports side spent 12 minutes and 14 seconds in the penalty box. The juniors went 1-for-7 with the man-advantage, while the collegiate all-stars went 0-for-4.

The university team appeared to have broken the goose-egg on a power-play when McGill forward Mathieu Pompei deflected a shot into the back of the net with 6:24 remaining in the game but the play was judged to be illegally deflected by a high stick.

“It would’ve been nice to get a goal there as it might have changed the momentum a little but we can’t do anything about that. It was a little high and the ref disallowed it,” said Pompei, the only member on the U Sports side without major junior experience. The 5-foot-7, 166-pound senior from Laval, Que.,  leads the OUA conference in scoring with a 9-20-29 record in 17 games. “They kept coming at us strong off the rush. Turnovers killed us in the first game (Monday night) and we adapted to that. They’re a really good hockey club… with speed and execution. It was an unbelievable experience and we see what it takes to play at the next level and learn from it.”

The junior squad led 1-0 after the opening period when defenceman Victor Mete, a Montreal Canadiens pick from Woodbridge, Ont., struck at 7:35, converting a pass from Howden.

The prospects added two more in the middle stanza, beginning with Nicolas Roy, a Carolina Hurricanes pick from Amos, Que., who tallied at 13:50.  Howden rounded out the scoring on a power-play at 18:05.

“We had trouble finishing (our chances) and should’ve put more shots on net,” said Concordia’s Olivier Hinse, a fifth-year senior from Sherbrooke, Que., who served as team captain for the collegians. “They’re talented and got the better of us but I think we played well but didn’t finish. It was tough to (find momentum) with all those penalties, many of them back-to-back, especially for the guys that don’t play on the PK. They had to wait a long time (between shifts)… The juniors are going to go far in that tournament and we wish them luck. I’m going to cheer for them.”

Starting goaltender Carter Hart was credited with the victory. The Philadelphia Flyers pick from Sherwood Park, Alta., shared the shutout with Connor Ingram of Imperial, Sask. Hart made four saves before being replaced at the midway mark by Ingram, who stopped all 11 shots he faced over the final 30:15.

Taking the loss between the pipes for U Sports was Michael McNiven, the other junior netminder vying for a spot on the Canadian team that will be heading to the IIHF World Junior Championship. He saved 24 of 27 and had some help from three crossbars that were struck.

“They brought in eight new guys (in the lineup) for today’s game and they were all trying to compete for a spot on the national team,” said U Sports (and Queen’s) head coach Brett Gibson, who had to work with the same lineup as the night before. “It was a quick turnaround for us and the speed factor is a lot different than what we’re used to at the U Sports level but overall, it was a great experience.”

“There’s some things that we could do better but for me, U Sports is the best place to be. You come to this level and get an education. What people don’t realize is that our guys are in the middle of studying for exams and there is a lot going on for them. This junior team that we just played is focused entirely on hockey, so it’s tough to compete.”

Many of the players on the U Sports All-stars will get a chance to play for Gibson again next month as he will be coaching the team that will represent Canada at the FISU World University Winter Games in Almaty, Kazakhstan, Jan. 29 to Feb. 8.

“This was a great for me, I needed to see some guys in different situations,” said Gibson. “Because when pre-scouting (potential players for the FISU Games), you see players who get a lot of minutes. But in these two games, I got to see how guys react on the bench, when they had some adversity.”

Montreal and Toronto will co-host the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship when it begins Dec. 26. U Sports hockey, which is currently on a one-month break for exams and holidays, will resume their schedule on Jan. 3.

 

SCORING SUMMARY
Canada Jrs 3, U Sports All-Stars 0
(Tuesday, December 13, 2016 – Centre d’Excellence Sports Rousseau @ Boisbriand, Que)

GOALS BY PERIOD:
U Sports All-Stars 0-0-0 — 0
Canada Jrs 1-2-0 — 3

1st Period-

1, Canada Jrs, Victor Mete 1 (Howden, Dubois), 7:35.

 

Penalties-McFaull U Sports (tripping), 9:54; Asselin U Sports (tripping), 13:11; Sheppard U Sports (interference), 17:07.

2nd Period-

2, Canada Jrs, Nicolas Roy 1 (Joseph , Speers), 13:50.

3, Canada Jrs, Brett Howden 1 (Clague, McLeod), 18:05 (PP).

 

Penalties-DePape U Sports (high sticking), 7:01; Sheppard U Sports (delay of game), 10:21; Merkley Can Jrs (cross checking), 14:15; Campbell U Sports (hooking), 17:51; Dube Can Jrs (holding), 19:09.

3rd Period- 

(No Scoring).

 

Penalties-Murray U Sports (boarding), 0:29; Steel Can Jrs (high sticking), 8:27; Dube Can Jrs (high sticking), 12:28.

Shots on Goal-

U Sports All-Stars 2-6-7– 15.

Canada Jrs 9-7-11 — 27.

Power Play Opportunities-

U Sports All-Stars 0 / 4;

Canada Jrs 1 / 7.

Goalies-

U Sports All-Stars,

Michael McNiven (L, 0-1-0, 27 shots-24 saves; 60:00).

 

Canada Jrs,

Carter Hart (Start, W, 2-0-0, 4 shots-4 saves, 30:15);

Connor Ingram (11 shots-11 saves; 29:45).

Attendance: 912
Start: 1:05 PM
End: 3:09 PM
Length: 2:04

 

Referees-Jesse Gour, Jonathan Girard.
Linesmen-Jean-Francois Losier, Philippe Pilon.

 

THREE STARS:

1. CAN – 12 Brett Howden
2. USPRT – 45 Michael McNiven
3. CAN – 16 Victor Mete

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