Raiders’ prospects re­flect on WHL Cup

Guhle, Brook thank­ful for ex­pe­ri­ence rep­re­sent­ing home prov­inces

Prince Albert Daily Herald - - SPORTS - EVAN RAD­FORD

Prince Al­bert Raiders’ prospect Kaiden Guhle wishes he could have done more to help his team win, but he still cher­ished his time spent as an al­ter­nate cap­tain rep­re­sent­ing team Al­berta at the an­nual WHL Cup in Calgary.

Guhle and the Al­berta team skated to a 4-3 over­time loss to team Bri­tish Columbia in the yearly un­der-16 tour­na­ment that hosts ban­tam-level teams from Canada’s four west­ern prov­inces.

In a re­peat of the 2016 tour­na­ment fi­nal, Al­berta squared off against B.C. on Sun­day, but the west coast side turned the ta­bles and un­seated Al­berta as reign­ing cham­pi­ons.

At 2:37 of over­time, Ryan Wat­son fired a waist-level slap shot on Al­berta goalie Se­bas­tian Cossa.

As the puck sailed through the face­off cir­cle on Cossa’s right side, B.C.’s Ben King kept his stick par­al­lel to his waist and de­flected the shot down and un­der the Al­berta net­min­der’s glove.

The team piled on top of each other in ju­bi­lant cel­e­bra­tion.

Guhle was on the bench dur­ing the goal.

“It makes you feel ‘could I have down any­thing else?’ But I trusted my team­mates that were out there,” he said.

His first pe­riod goal opened the scor­ing for his team. Guhle scored a wrist shot on the pow­er­play at 8:34 of the first pe­riod.

He also as­sisted on the game-ty­ing goal that sent it to over­time for his side.

At 18:16 of the third pe­riod, his slap shot from the point de­flected off of B.C.’s goalie, and a wait­ing Con­nor McClen­non tied it for Al­berta on the re­bound.

“We played well. B.C. got a lot bet­ter since the last time we played them. In OT it was pretty even. They had a cou­ple good chances. And they had a good tip to win it. I’m still proud of the guys. Over­time brings ev­ery­one to­gether.”

The Raiders se­lected Guhle first over­all in the 2017 WHL ban­tam draft. He cur­rently plays with the OHA Ed­mon­ton Prep club.

De­spite the tough loss, he said it was amaz­ing to see ev­ery­body on his team came to­gether, “how ev­ery­one bought into their roles and was play­ing for each other.”

Rep­re­sent­ing Al­berta, “meant ev­ery­thing” to him. His brother (and for­mer Raider) Bren­dan Guhle was his in­spi­ra­tion for play­ing on the pro­vin­cial team – the el­der Guhle played with the 2012 gold-medal-win­ning team.

Fel­low Raiders’ prospect Jakob Brook couldn’t have been more em­phatic.

When asked what it meant to him to rep­re­sent his prov­ince at the tour­na­ment, he replied, “Once in a life­time. It was great to rep­re­sent my prov­ince.”

Brook skated with team Man­i­toba, which re­peated as bronze medal cham­pi­ons this year, beat­ing prairie ri­vals Saskatchewan 4-2 on Sun­day.

“It was a very amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence,” he said from Win­nipeg on Tues­day.

The Raiders se­lected Brook 40th over­all in the se­cond round of the 2017 ban­tam draft. He’s now el­i­gi­ble to be called up by the Raiders to play in reg­u­lar sea­son or post-sea­son games this year, as well as pre­sea­son games next year.

He cur­rently plays with the Rink Hockey Academy Prep Na­tion­als in Win­nipeg.

Brook’s first-pe­riod goal in the bronze medal game opened the scor­ing for ei­ther side.

At 5:53, Ty Thorpe di­rected his slap shot to­wards Brook, who was wait­ing on goalie Bryan Thom­son’s right doorstep. Brook redi­rected the point-shot in, putting his side up 1-0.

“It was get­ting frus­trat­ing for me, be­cause I hadn’t scored in the tour­na­ment (prior to that goal). It felt good to get that one.”

The win meant a lot for him and his team­mates, who he said “left it all out there. We wanted it more than they did.”

Brook said now he’s go­ing to con­tinue play­ing with his Win­nipeg club, hop­ing that he’ll get the call-up from the Raiders.

There’s also the chance he’ll be in­vited to try out for team Canada’s na­tional un­der-16 team, based on his play in Calgary and through­out this sea­son.

If that hap­pens, he’ll find out next spring.

“It would be such an hon­our to get se­lected to the camp, let alone to make the team,” he said.

DEREK LE­UNG/SUB­MIT­TED BY WHL

Jakob Brook (9) tries to con­trol the puck against a team Al­berta de­fender at the WHL Cup.

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