Sunday, August 8, 2010

Canada Camp

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. – A move from centre to left wing on the hottest line in camp paid off for Cody Eakin.

The Swift Current Bronco had a pair of goals and an assist as Team White downed Team Red 5-2 in the second intra-squad game at the Canadian junior hockey team development camp on Saturday night.

Eakin, who played centre as the Whites beat the Reds 6-3 in the first intra-squad game on Friday night, moved onto the wing with centre Sean Couturier and Louis Leblanc and combined twice with Leblanc on goals and got another goal unassisted.

Both Eakin and Leblanc were late cuts from last year's team for the world junior championship, but they have taken a leg up in trying to make the Canadan side for the 2011 tournament in Buffalo, N.Y.

A team selection camp will be held in December from which a 22-man squad will be named.

“Me and Louis were talking about it on the bench,” said Eakin. “We both said it was a pretty bad feeling and we're not going to let it happen again this year.

“The game was really fast. We turned it on in the second period and didn't look back from there.”

Leblanc was impressed.

“He had a great game,” said Leblanc. “Once again, we clicked.”

Jaden Schwartz and Kyle Clifford each had a goal and an assist for White, which scored three times in a 45-second span in the second period on goaltender Mark Visentin, the Phoenix Coyotes first-round pick who was celebrating his 18th birthday.

Tyler Seguin and Tyler Toffoli scored for Red.

Coach Dave Cameron and his staff tweaked the lines somewhat from the first game, including moving Eakin and splitting up Brandon teammates Brayden Schenn and Scott Glennie as well as old world under-18 linemates Seguin and Toffoli.

“Right now in our evaluation of the team our strength is through the middle, to the point that there are some really good centremen who will probably get a shot at playing the wing,” said Cameron.

“We wanted to see Cody. We're going to need versatility. Guys will have to move around. He's one of the guys we think is capable of doing that. He demonstrated that. He was a very good player in both games at both positions.”

White outshot Red 46-37 and the score could have been worse if not for the work of goaltender Jean-François Berubé, who stopped all 19 shots he faced in the first period before being beaten twice in the second.

“This was by far my best game,” said Berubé. “When you have a lot of shots it's easy to stay in the game and the defence helped me a lot to see the puck and that made it easier.”

His favourite save came from in close early on as he stoned Leblanc, who will be his teammate this season with the Montreal Juniors.

“He came by me and told me I robbed him and I was pretty happy about that,” said the Los Angeles Kings prospect. “But on the play, I didn't know it was him. It was pretty funny.”

At the other end, Olivier Roy was saving 14 of 15 for Team White. The only goal to beat Roy was a shot from fellow Edmonton Oilers prospect Curtis Hamilton, whose wrister from the right circle looked to be going wide but went in off Seguin, the gifted second overall pick by the Boston Bruins who otherwise had a quiet camp.

Schwartz finally beat Berubé early in the second on a feed from Brayden Schenn and Eakin banged in a pass across the crease from Leblanc at 9:04.

That was when both teams changed goalies, with Calvin Pickard going in for Roy and Visentin for Berubé.

Schwartz set up Clifford on a 2-on-1 at 13:10, Eakin scored unassisted at 13:31 and Manning got one at 13:55 before Toffoli beat Pickard on a breakaway for Team Red.

Neither team scored in a scrambly third period that produced few good chances for either side. Team White lost Glennie to a hand injury for the third and was forced to juggle its centres.

Schwartz had a great week. First he learned that after a long, nervy wait a match had been found for a stem cell transplant for his sister Mandi, a top women's prospect who is suffering from leukemia. The transplant is set for Aug. 26. Then Jaden had a strong camp.

“Playing with Schenn and Clifford was pretty fun out there,” said Schwartz, a stocky forward. “We read each other well and had some good shifts.

“With Mandi, that's the best news my family has had in a while. My parents are happy, Mandi's happy and I'm happy with my performance at this camp. It's been a good summer and I hope it continues.”

The top scorers from the two games were Leblanc and Clifford, each with two goals and two assists, while Eakin, Schenn and Couturier each had three points. Three Red team players had two points each – Zack Kassian, Ryan Johansen and Carter Ashton.

Red team defenceman Mark Pysyk of the Edmonton Oil Kings was held out for precautionary reasons due to a minor injury. Red was already missing Portland Winter Hawks forward Brad Ross who has not skated at the camp due to a groin pull.