Team WHL dominates Game 1
Big win at Mosaic Place
Team WHL wanted to get the CIBC Canada Russia Series off to as good a start as possible. What they accomplished couldn’t have been better.
The WHL scored four times in the second period and Carter Hart of the Everett Silvertips stopped four breakaways in the first 10 minutes of the game on their way to a 7-0 victory at Mosaic Place on Monday.
Things got off to a fast start for the Canadian crew, as the first few shifts were largely in the Russian end and the WHL came within inches of scoring inside the opening minute when the Moose Jaw Warriors’ Brett Howden went hard to the net and nearly knocked a loose puck past goaltender Alexey Melnichuk.
Warriors head coach Tim Hunter was behind the bench for Team WHL and felt that as well as things went in the opening frame, the dominance could have started a lot earlier.
“I thought we could have done a lot of things better, it took us awhile to get going,” he said. “Our smallest guy Matt Phillips (Victoria Royals) was the guy that was in front of the goalie the most and he got paid off early with it, we had some more guys going to the net and scoring goals right in tight.
That’s where the skill really pays off, breaking them down with shots and not allowing the goalie to see rebounds and that’s where the skill takes over and it did and we’ll have to do more tomorrow night.”
Howden finished the game with a goal and an assist – with his marker coming with two minutes left in the third when he tipped home a point shot from Tanner Kaspick – while linemate Kole Lind of the Kelowna Rockets was named player of the game after scoring twice and adding an assist.
“We had a couple good cycling shifts to start the game and just kind of built off from there,” Lind said. “They had their spurts where they had their share of chances and our D really came together as well, I thought we played a really good all-around game.”
Moose Jaw Warriors forward Noah Gregor also saw action in the contest and had a glorious scoring opportunity on a twoon-one in the second period, but was held off the scoresheet.
“It was fun, I was really excited to play in front of our own Warrior fans and it was a pretty exciting game, it was cool to get a lot of goals and it’s a good start for the Series,” said Gregor.
“I thought I did pretty well, I tried to stick to my game and play fast and play simple. Russia has a good team, there are a lot of good players over there, but it’s awesome that we came together so quick.”
Swift Current’s Tyler Steenbergen, Phillips, Portland’s Cody Glass and Kelowna’s Dillon Dube also scored for Team WHL.
Howden was unavailable for Game 2 of the series in Swift Current Tuesday after leaving the game with an injury in the third period, and things didn’t go quite as well for Team WHL in that contest.
Russia scored three unanswered goals in the third period to take a 4-3 victory. Medicine Hat’s David Quennville scored a pair for the WHL and Dube had their other marker to go along with two assists. Sam Steel had three helpers.
Lethbridge’s Stuart Skinner made 29 saves for the WHL.
The series continues tonight in Owen Sound with the first meeting between Team OHL and Russia.
Moose Jaw Warriors forward Brett Howden tips home a shot to put Team WHL up 5-0 against Team Russia during Game 1 of the CIBC Canada Russia Series at Mosaic Place.