By Josh Beneteau
Team Canada’s national junior team blew out a team of Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) all-stars 10-3 Saturday night at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC).
Team Canada’s roster was made up of players trying to make the junior squad that will represent Canada at the World Junior Championships later this month. The CIS all-star team was made up of seven players each from York, University of Toronto and Ryerson. The head coaches from all three schools were also on the bench.
“Anytime you can compete against someone that’s going to give you a good game, it’s going to help you,” Ryerson head coach Graham Wise said. “It was ugly. There’s no excuses but those kids are good.”
The game opened with Canada quickly pinning the CIS team in its own end. It only took 90 seconds for Canada to get on the board, when Jake Virtanen found Nick Ritchie in front, who then beat Ryerson goalie Troy Passingham over the blocker.
The CIS team tied it up on the powerplay in the middle of the frame. Ryerson’s Alex Basso fired a slapshot from the point that beat Zach Fucale over the blocker. Fellow Rams Dean Willmott and Michael Fine assisted the goal.
“It’s fun but obviously we’re competitive guys on our team and we don’t like to lose,” Fine said. “Hopefully we can bring the speed back to our second half [of the season].”
Team Canada quickly responded with two quick goals from Lawson Crouse and Brayden Point to go up 3-1 at the end of the period.
The second period saw Canada continue to pile on the goals. Robby Fabbri got the scoring started with a power move out of the corner and a hard shot past U of T’s goalie Michael Nishi, who replaced Passingham.
The CIS team responded with a goal from York’s Mark Cross but goals two-minutes apart from Michael Dal Colle and Fabbri put Canada up 6-2 after two.
“You want to show them what you got and the reason they brought you here,” Fabbri said of his performance.
The CIS team got one back quickly, only 23 seconds into the third. Ryerson’s Domenic Alberga scored on a rebound from fellow Rams Gallant and Fine.
But Canada kept going, with the defence stepping up and beating York’s goalie Chris Perugini four times.
Madison Bowey’s point shot made it 7-3. Dillion Heatherington pinched from the point to make it 8-3. Morgan Klimchuk scored on a wraparound to make it 9-3. And with two seconds left in the game, Travis Sanheim one-timed the 10th goal home.
“We had a good effort not just from one guy but many guys on our team,” Canada’s coach Benoît Groulx said. “What I liked from our third period tonight is that we didn’t stop until the end.”
The teams will play a second game Sunday at 1 p.m. at the MAC. Groulx hinted there could be changes to the Team Canada roster as he tries to decide who will make the team.
With files from Michael Musalem