Goalie in­vited to world ju­niors try­out

DiPi­etro ‘got chills’ af­ter re­ceiv­ing call to try out for Canada’s ju­nior team

Windsor Star - - FRONT PAGE - JIM PARKER jp­parker@post­media.com Twit­ter.com/win­starparker

It was a call that brought chills to Wind­sor Spit­fires goal­tender Michael DiPi­etro.

The 18-year-old, who is from Amher­st­burg, was one of 32 players named to Canada’s pre­lim­i­nary camp ros­ter on Wed­nes­day for the World Ju­nior Hockey Cham­pi­onship.

“I’m re­ally ex­cited,” DiPi­etro said. “You get the call, it gives you chills at first. It kind of shows that all of your hard work that you put in through your ca­reer is pay­ing off right now.”

DiPi­etro is the youngest of the four goalies set to at­tend the four-day camp, which is set to start on Tues­day in St. Catharines. The fi­nal ros­ter will be an­nounced Dec. 15.

“I still have to go there and earn a spot, but to even be rec­og­nized as an un­der­age go­ing to this is re­ally hum­bling for my­self,” said DiPi­etro, who is a Van­cou­ver Canucks prospect. “I’m ex­cited to get started.”

Along with DiPi­etro, for­mer Spit­fires de­fence­man Lo­gan Stan­ley, who is now with the Kitch­ener Rangers, was also named to the camp ros­ter. DiPi­etro’s se­lec­tion marked the sec­ond-straight day a mem­ber of the Spit­fires was named to a na­tional ju­nior camp ros­ter. On Tues­day, the de­fend­ing cham­pion United States named Wind­sor cen­tre Lo­gan Brown to its 28-man ros­ter for camp, which runs Dec. 15 to 19 in Columbus, Ohio.

“You grew up watch­ing it and it’s some­thing you grow up dream­ing about play­ing in,” said the 19-year-old Brown, who is an Ot­tawa Sen­a­tors prospect. “This is kind of the first step.”

The U.S., which is host­ing the tour­na­ment in Buf­falo from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5, will only cut five players to reach its 23-player limit. A year ago, Brown was one of those fi­nal cuts.

“Be­ing the last cut last year and watch­ing them win the gold medal was tough,” Brown said. “That

re­ally sat with me and still sits with me, so a lot of mo­ti­va­tion to go there, make the team and win a gold medal. It’s so close now.”

VILARDI CLEARED

It was good news and bad news for Spit­fires for­ward Gabriel Vilardi. The Los An­ge­les Kings prospect was cleared on Tues­day to re­sume prac­tice. If all goes well, he will be cleared in two weeks to re­turn to ac­tion.

Un­for­tu­nately, that two-week wait left Vilardi, who has not played a game this sea­son, out of con­tention for a world ju­nior ros­ter invitation on Wed­nes­day.

“You’re happy and kind of up­set,” the 18-year-old Vilardi said. “At the same time, my goal’s been to win the Stan­ley Cup. Ob­vi­ously, it would be cool to play world ju­niors and rep­re­sent your coun­try, but ul­ti­mately I want to play in the NHL next year. If I go there and I get hurt, that could af­fect my chances. That would be a six-month re­hab and that’s just bad for ev­ery­body.”

As it stands, Vilardi is ex­pected to re­turn to the lineup on Dec. 28 in Sar­nia in the team’s first game af­ter the Christmas break.

“I’ve kind of al­ways been tak­ing it day by day,” Vilardi said. “They said two weeks con­tact and I’m good to go.”

PLAYFAIR HON­OURED

Spit­fires for­ward Chris Playfair has been named the On­tario Hockey League’s West Di­vi­sion aca­demic player of the month for Novem­ber.

The 17-year-old Playfair, who is in his first full sea­son with the club, is car­ry­ing an 86 per cent av­er­age in Grade 12 uni­ver­sitylevel course in data, bi­ol­ogy and busi­ness at St. Anne high school

Spit­fires goalie Michael DiPi­etro says he was ex­cited to get an invitation to try out for Team Canada world ju­niors team in St. Catharines.

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