Canada East team looking for ‘some re­venge’

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - Sports - BY JA­SON SIM­MONDS

SUMMERSIDE — Canada East has been close be­fore, but is still looking to win its first World Ju­nior A Chal­lenge gold medal.

They hope that changes at the 2009 event at Credit Union Place.

“I’ll def­i­nitely be looking for a gold,” said Canada East de­fence-man David Pratt, a mem­ber of the 2008 team that won bronze in Cam­rose, Alta.

The eight-day tour­na­ment be­gins Sun­day and Canada East meets de­fend­ing-cham­pion United States at 7 p.m.

“Last year, they (U.S.) were the ones who put us in the bronzemedal (game),” said Pratt, re­fer­ring to the United States’ 5-1 semi­fi­nal win.

“ We’re kind of looking for some re­venge. It’s nice to start off against th­ese guys. It’s an easy game to get up for.”

Canada East is coached by for­mer NHL de­fence-man Todd Gill, who spent the ma­jor­ity of his 19- year ca­reer with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“Com­pared to your club teams, it’s not of­ten you get four lines that are as tal­ented as you get to coach here,” said Gill, who is gen­eral man­ager and head coach of the Cen­tral Ju­nior A Hockey League’s Brockville Braves.

“ That's go­ing to be a huge plus. The pace of the game and the tal­ent of the play­ers on the ice makes it a dream to coach. I’m looking for­ward to it.”

Pratt, 18, plays for the Welling­ton Dukes of the Cen­tral Cana­dian Hockey League and com­pared this year’s Canada East team to the 2008 edi­tion.

“Our team last year was straight skill, lots of goalscor­ers. This year, we have big­ger, stronger and faster guys, and we have to use that to our ad­van­tage.”

In fact, Canada East has 16 play­ers six feet or taller.

“ We have to take the de­fence wide, crash the cor­ners, send it in deep and use that size and strength to our ad­van­tage, be­cause some of th­ese Euro­pean teams don’t like to be hit,” said Pratt.

“If we can slow them down a bit, be­cause they’re all about skat­ing, I think it will be a plus for us.”

An­other key, noted Gill, is play­ers will­ing to ac­cept their roles.

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