BOWERS SCORES SHOOTOUT WINNER, HELPS NJT HOPEFULS TO CAMP WIN
VICTORIA, B.C. – Jack Studnicka (Tecumseh, Ont./Oshawa, OHL) scored twice in regulation time and Shane Bowers (Herring Cove, N.S./Boston University, HE) added the winner in the shootout, leading Canada’s junior hopefuls past U SPORTS 3-2 in the opening game Wednesday night at Canada’s National Junior Team Sport Chek Selection Camp.
Bowers’ game-winning goal came in the ninth round of the shootout, after the two teams had netted three goals apiece through the first eight. He came in from the left side of goaltender Matthew Villalta (Godfrey, Ont./Sault Ste. Marie, OHL) before snapping a quick shot low to the blocker side.
Studnicka’s first goal of the night opened the scoring for Canada; he took a lead pass from Morgan Frost (Aurora, Ont./Sault Ste. Marie, OHL), broke through the U SPORTS defence and beat Villalta.
Villalta, one of three goaltenders at camp, went the distance in the U SPORTS goal, making 28 saves.
Canada had chances to extend the lead in the opening frame, including a power-play opportunity late in the frame that featured several clear chances, but Villalta kept it a one-goal game after 20 minutes.
U SPORTS got on the board less then two minutes into the second period off the stick of Chris Clapperton, but Studnicka regained the lead for Canada less than five minutes later on a man advantage. Frost’s initial shot was saved by Villalta, but Studnicka was parked in front of the net and banged in the rebound.
Michael DiPietro (Amherstburg, Ont./Ottawa, OHL) started in net for Canada, and was strong between the pipes, stopping 18 of the 19 shots he faced before being replaced by Ian Scott (Calgary, Alta./Prince Albert, WHL) midway through the second period. Scott also turned away 18 of 19 in his 34 minutes of work.
The one-goal advantage would last until the dying second of the third period; with Villalta on the bench, Luke Philp found the puck off a scramble in front and tucked it past Scott with 8.1 seconds left in regulation.
The two teams traded chances in overtime, but neither could find the back of the net.
Joe Veleno (Montreal, Que./Drummondville, QMJHL), Frost and Alexis Lafrenière (Saint-Eustache, Que./Rimouski, QMJHL) also scored in the shootout for Canada, while Riley Sheen, Slater Doggett and Hunter Garlent replied for U SPORTS before Bowers ended it.
The two teams are back in action on Thursday (9 p.m. ET) in the second of three games at selection camp.