Team Canada's World Junior camp wound down Saturday night with the Cody Eakin show. Eakin led the way with two goals and an assist playing with new linemates Sean Couturier and Louis LeBlanc. Brayden Schenn also shone for Team White while playing on a new line with Kyle Clifford and Jaden Schwartz. It was the second night in a row where two lines for White pretty much dominated the game and it was mostly the same guys.
Curtis Hamilton spent the night on a line with Zack Kassian, and was originally credited with the only goal to get by Olivier Roy. A national media outlet says that Tyler Seguin got the goal, but I didn't hear a correction in the rink. Whether Hamilton or Seguin scored, Roy was beaten by a high screened shot to the stick side. Hamilton played with three different centers tonight, including Ryan Johansen and Jeff Skinner, but he clicked with Seguin and Kassian for the goal. Kassian scored a goal later in the game to lead the way for Team Red. I didn't see him take any cheap shots tonight.
Roy had another real solid night. I think he has definitely made the Hockey Canada staff sit up and take notice. He started tonight and left with a 2-1 lead and 24 saves on 25 shots. That makes his save percentage from two games a whopping .953. I'm pretty sure that's the best percentage of the four goalies. He looked really comfortable even when The Reds put a little pressure on and tried the stick side a few more times.
The Red team played short-handed again tonight and all the line switching may have had an effect on them. Despite being reasonably close in shots both nights, they were outplayed by Team White both times. Carter Ashton, along with Kassian and Tyler Seguin, were probably the best players for the Reds. Seguin made a couple of seeing-eye passes but was not rewarded and I would hazard a guess that he logged the most ice-time too. It was a tough night for Red's goalie Mark Visentin who gave up three quick goals in the span of about 55 seconds in the second period. A close 2-1 game quickly became a 5-2 snoozer and easy win for Team White. The third period was uneventful.
Some players didn't end up on the scoreboard and others didn't end up in my reports, but there were 45 great hockey players vying for positions on what will be a great hockey team. For many of these kids this is the end of the road for their World Junior chances, since there's only 23 spots. However, they will go back to their respective junior and college teams and likely be the best or one of the best players night in and night out.
From beautiful downtown St. John's I wish them luck and also thank the Copper & Blue gang for giving me this opportunity. I hope you enjoyed my reports. I surely have enjoyed providing them.