(Thanks to Gino De Paoli from the Okotoks Oilers for sending in the pictures)
The photos are from the first practice for Team Canada West in Calgary. The sixty players and coaches convened at Hockey Canada Headquarters on Sunday night for the first workouts. The players are grouped into three teams that will go through drills and scrimmages all week, before they pair the team down to 22 players late next week. The team will break camp on November 2nd and head out to Nova Scotia for the 2012 World Junior ‘A’ Challenge.
Chad Katunar, Troy Stecher, James De Haas, Dexter Dancs, Wade Murphy and Mike Rebry are the Vees contingent battling for spots on Team Canada West. Just how many make the team is the question everyone is asking. Troy Stecher won gold last year and is familiar with this year’s coaching staff, as Canada West Head Coach Dean Brockman served as an assistant in 2011. Brockman also is the Humboldt Broncos bench boss, so he’s well aware of Stecher’s ability. If you would say Stecher is a certainty to make the team, then how many others make it? It really depends on how they compete in the week-long camp; that goes for Stecher too I suppose. Regardless it’s a safe bet we will see some sort of Vees representation on Canada West.
Last night’s result might have left a sour taste in Vees fans and it was a tough loss for all involve. However some good news was a big Saturday for a few Vees alumni.
- Joel Rumpel has been superb in-goal for Wisconsin early on. In three starts, Rumpel is 1-1-1 but has a stingy 1.30 goals-against average and a sparkling .954 save-percentage. He had a big weekend, shutting out Minnesota-Duluth Friday and followed that up with a 33 save performance Saturday in a 2-2 with the Bulldogs.
- Steven Fogarty scored his first two NCAA goals, including the game-winner, as Notre Dame edged North Michigan 3-2 Saturday. The Fighting Irish are off to a 5-1 start and I don’t think this is the last time we hear of Fogarty coming up clutch for ND.
- Joey Laleggia is off to quite the start at Denver. Laleggia had another multiple point game (1-1-2) as the Pioneers beat Michigan Tech 5-2. Laleggia has three goals and six points in all four Pioneers games, all four wins too. He sits second in team scoring and second in the nation among defensemen.
- Brendan O’Donnell had an assist in North Dakota’s 3-3 tie with Alaska-Anchorage. You can see the highlight here. It’s at the :35 mark and it’s a beauty of pass that results in a pretty scoring play.
- Curtis Loik scored in Penn State’s 6-3 win over Sacred Heart. Penn State is off to an impressive start to their inaugural Division l campaign, putting together a 4-1 record.
If you look through my Twitter feed on the right, more specifically from last night, there’s more Alumni news. I will have a complete summary with my Alumni Scoreboard early this week.
Final thoughts from last night and I don’t have anything negative to say about the Vees performance. They played well, in fact, the coaching staff were quoted as saying their effort was better than Friday and I would agree. Unfortunately the Vees were bettered by a pretty good Victoria Grizzlies team. The Grizz won again on Sunday afternoon and now have a 12-5-0-1 record through 18 games.
This was a match-up of two good teams, especially on the defensive side. It came down to who made the least amount mistakes and that was Victoria. Well, the tying goal was just a bad bounce off the end-wall more than anything. They only critique I would say is the Vees needed to be better in front of their net on the OT winner. Leo Fitzgerald got three whacks at the puck; the third finally beating Katunar.
Remember the Vees were without Louie Nanne and Cam Amantea before the game and Brad McClure went down with an injury in the third; leaving the Vees with only 10 forwards the rest of the way. The Vees will be better for the loss and still picked up a point, keeping their distance from West Kelowna and Merritt in the standings.