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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Team Canada Beats University All-stars Prior to Making Their Final Cuts

Team Canada took on a squad of University players on Tuesday evening, the eve of the final roster being announced. Scratched for the game for the Canadians were all 4 returnees, Ellis, de Haan, Cowen and Schenn who are locks to be on the team. Also scratched for Canada were Johansen, Leblanc, Kassian, and Cizikas who was injured.

The Line combos for Canada were as follows: Bournival – Pirri - Schwartz; Eakin - Nugent-Hopkins - Connolly; Hamilton – Sheahan - Couturier; Ashton – Howden - Foligno.

The defense pairings were: Olsen - Gudbranson; Després - Pysyk; Murray - Barrie; Murphy. Roy started in goal for the all-stars, Visentin for Team Canada.
The Hamilton – Sheahan – Couturier line meant business. Sheahan opens scoring for Canada with assists to Couturier and Hamilton with just over six minutes to play in the first. And that`s how the first period ended with Team Canada outshooting the all-stars 14-7.

Team Canada came out quickly in the second period with Eakin scoring at the 53 second mark of 2nd period with assists going to Després and Bournival.

At the halfway point the teams switched goalies. Visentin gives up zero goals on 11 shots by the all-stars. Roy gives up 2 goals on 24 shots by Team Canada. Pickard took over for the all-stars while Anderson went in for Team Canada.

2012 draft eligible defenseman Ryan Murray scored on the power play with assists to Schwartz and Pysyk gave Canada a 3-0 lead. An incredible feed by Couturier to Foligno made it 4-0 with Sheahan picking up the 2nd assist.
Sheahan picked up his 2nd assist to go along with his goal when he and Howden set up Hamilton to make it 5-0 for Canada.
Charles-Antoine Tessier scored with 5 minutes remaining for the all stars to end the shut out bid.
Canada got that one back when Ashton scores on a nice feed from Couturier and Murphy with 3 minutes remaining.

One would think that Visentin gets the starting job with Roy as backup if you go by the last 3 days. I would think that Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Ryan Murphy will both be odd men out, not because they don’t deserve to be there but there are more experienced guys who bring the same game. Eric Gudbranson could also be a big question mark. He really underperformed in the 3 games and was a minus on each night. He had a brutal giveaway in the final minute Tuesday night where he took a penalty to recover.

The pleasant surprise is Ryan Murray who isn’t draft eligible until 2012. There were 7 defensemen vying for 3 spots, and he may have taken one with his performance over the past 3 days.

We’ll find out Wednesday morning as the final cuts will be announced. I expect that to happen around 9 am.

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