Canada East, featuring players from the CCHL, OJHL, QJHL and MHL, were the favoured team heading into the game against the Swiss, but the first period wouldn’t end the way they were hoping for.
In fact, after eight minutes of play, Lausanne HC prospect Simon Le Coultre would beat Colton Point with a point shot, giving the European squad the first lead of the game. Le Coultre, a small defenseman at 5’10 and 157 lbs, is a potential top 90 pick in the NHL Draft in 2017, and even though he’s the only 1999-born player on the Swiss, he’ll likely be a big time player for the Swiss for the remainder of the tournament.
It would take a full period for Canada to finally put themselves on the scoreboard, but from there on out, it was lights out for the home team. Newmarket Hurricanes defenseman Adam Smith would find a way to beat Swiss netminder Philip Wuthrich close to the net to tie things up at one apiece. Only 40 seconds after that, Carleton Place Canadians star Lucas Batt gave Canada their first lead of the game with a goal of his own, firing it past Wuthrich to suddenly give Canada the lead.
Seven minutes after that, Canada’s lead would be extended to two goals with what can only be described as a perfect backhand shot. Cornwall forward Grant Cooper would be the offender on the play, firing it up high into the top corner to give Canada East the 3-1 lead. The offensive explosion wasn’t close to done just yet, however, as two goals just 16 seconds apart made things even tougher for the visiting Swiss. First, Brooklyn, Nova Scotia native Makail Parker would fire one home to give Canada the 4-1 lead, only to have OJHL scoring threat Luc Brown make it 5-1 before the ned of the first period. It was a good frame for Canada, who would finish the 40 minute mark with a 24-9 shot advantage after limiting the Swiss to just three shots in the second.
The third period would see another five goals added to the scoreboard, but not all of them came from the Canadians this time. In fact, Nando Eggenberger, who had a tremendous night for the Swiss, would beat Point after 4:17 of play in the third period, giving his team a bit of life. He’d add a second marker four minutes after that with a five-hole backhand, but Wellington Dukes forward Ben Sokay would split them up with a goal of his own.
“Having a goal in my first game means a lot, especially because I had a lot of family and friends in the stands,” said Sokay following the game. Contributing to a game close to home in front of our fans is priceless.”
Canada’s dominance wasn’t done, with Brett Murray and Owen Grant finding the back of the net in the later stages of the contest on the power-play. Canada would finish a perfect 2-for-2 with the extra man, with neither team really getting many chances to show off their special team skills. That didn’t matter for Canada East, who easily cruised to a 8-3 victory following a slow start to the contest.
“All the guys had a good game,” said Canadian coach Jason Clarke. “We saw energy on the ice. I really like the character of our team.”
Canada East will can earn a bye to the semifinals with a victory over Russia on Monday night, a 7:00 pm start in Whitby. The Swiss, meanwhile, will have the night off bef0re playing the Russians on Tuesday night.
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