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 Tytuł: TORONTO -- Brayden Point is banking on the second time being
PostNapisane: piątek, 9 sie 2019, 02:46 
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TORONTO -- Brayden Point is banking on the second time being the charm. The Moose Jaw Warriors forward is again at the Canadian under-18 national hockey teams training camp. Last year as an under-age player he was with the squad through its final exhibition game in Sochi, Russia -- scoring twice in regulation and once in a shootout in a 5-4 victory over Czech Republic -- before being released and returning home. Adding insult to injury for Point, the Canadians went on to win the tournament for the third time overall but first since 2008. Canadas victory also snapped the United States run of four straight gold medal finishes. "It (being released) was tough but it was an older team and there was a lot of good players," Point said following Mondays practice at the Mastercard Centre. "I understood and was just thankful to get the experience. "Meeting the Hockey Canada guys and getting to know them over the course of the trip last year was great so now its a lot more comfortable and I feel a lot more confident." The five-foot-nine, 160-pound Point was the Warriors leading scorer this year with 91 points (26 goals, 55 assists). He played in all 72 of his teams games and finished the season with an impressive 12-game point streak. The 18-year-old Calgary native has recorded 149 points (61-88) in his three seasons with Moose Jaw. He also took part in the 2014 CHL Top Prospects game. Point does have previous national under-18 experience. He was a member of the Canadian squad that won gold at the 13 Memorial of Ivan Hlinka Tournament, registering a goal and three assists in five games. And although he wasnt a part of last years under-18 world championship squad, Point is well aware of what the expectations are for this years team. "No matter what Hockey Canada event you go to, the expectation is always gold," he said. "That never changes no matter what the previous team did. "But being able to play exhibition games last year over there was an awesome experience. I think I can take the pace of the game from that experience and hopefully translate it into my game this year." Point is among 22 players who were invited to the camp -- eight from both the WHL and OHL, six from the QMJHL. Thirteen participated in last years under-17 world hockey challenge in Quebec while eight played in this years under-17 event in Cape Breton, N.S. Point is one of nine players on the roster who helped Canada win gold at the Ivan Hlinka event last summer in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. But what stands out most to head coach Kevin Dineen is the sheer size of his squad, with 14 players in camp standing six feet or taller. "I cant believe the size of these guys and when you look at their bios they were playing midget just a couple of years ago," said Dineen, the former head coach of the NHLs Florida Panthers. "But not only are they big, theyre skilled with talent. "That makes it enjoyable having guys who are able to play the game anyway we need to have success." But Dineen, who played 19 NHL seasons and led Canadas national womens team to Olympic gold in Sochi in February, has also been impressed with his players hockey smarts. "Were certainly not going to compromise and dumb things down for this group," he said. "That wouldnt be fair to them because that wouldnt be making them live up to their potential and by no means are we doing that. "Its a pretty smart, cerebral bunch and I like the chemistry . . . one of our players missed the first day and didnt understand the drill we were doing so one of his teammates said, Here, hop in and Ill show you what we have to do. Theres a little bit of that going on which were really trying to encourage." And with good reason. Dineen faces the challenge of having to mould 22 players into a team less than two weeks before the start of the world championship tournament in Lapeenranta and Imatra, Finland. "Many teams were going to face have a real advantage because theyve been centralized like the U.S. team out in Ann Arbor, Mich., and many of the European players have played together for a while and were just putting this together," Dineen said. "But for me I love this kind of stuff, its so much fun. "This is such a good bunch to be around. Theyre enthusiastic, theyre talented, theyre nervous, its the whole package. Weve all felt each other out here for the last few days. Yes, there are challenges. Weve got to gel and find some chemistry in a pretty timely manner but its a really fun group to work with and theyre very sharp kids." Canada will conclude its training camp sessions Tuesday and play exhibition games against Finland and Denmark before opening the under-18 tournament April 17 against Sweden. 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Willy went undrafted but was given a look by four NFL teams before heading north.ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Wild gave Zach Parise all that money for games like this. Parise signed that megadeal two years ago for games even bigger than this. They forced at least one more with a furious finish. Parise scored early and late on tipped shots, and the Wild tacked on two empty-net goals for a 5-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Monday night that sent the first-round playoff series to a decisive Game 7. "Its one of those nights where you just want to keep touching it and keep having the puck," said Parise, who added two assists for a career-playoff-high four points. The teams will meet in Denver on Wednesday night, with the winner taking on the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference semifinals. "We dont have any time to hang our heads here and feel sorry for ourselves," Avalanche captain Gabe Landeskog said. "Were just going to get right back on the horse here and get ready for Game 7." Ah, Game 7. An already-tight series will produce one final dramatic performance. "We didnt sign here to win a first-round game. We look at the big picture," said Parise, who joined close friend Ryan Suter in signing 13-year, $98 million contracts with the Wild two seasons ago. The Wild were in trouble at the second intermission after what Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said might have been his teams best period of the whole series. Parise scored just 49 seconds into the game on a power play and Mikael Granlund made it 2-0 later in the first period, but a costly turnover by Suter at the end of a failed 5-on-3 situation led to a short-handed goal for the Avalanche when Paul Stastny scored for the fourth time in the series. Nick Holden got the tying goal in the second period to stop the power-play skid for the Avalanche, who had been denied by a resurgent Wild penalty-kill unit in 19 of 20 previous opportunities in the series. The Wild stumbled through to the second intermission, lacking the edge they had here throughout Games 3 and 4 and in the first period of this Game 6, and the atmosphere in the building became anxious, with one more goal by the Avalanche holding tthe power to end the home teams season.dddddddddddd So Wild coach Mike Yeo gave his team a spark by reuniting Parise on the first line with centre Mikko Koivu, who had two assists. "I think we started to get a little bit of fear in our game. Not necessarily afraid of them, just afraid maybe of what we were losing," Yeo said, adding: "Both of those guys were leading the charge up front and for me, their determination, their kind of get-after-it attitude, I wanted those guys going out together." Parked in the crease with the season on the line, Parise took a shove in the back from goalie Semyon Varlamov and then outmuscled defenceman Erik Johnson for position on Koivus shot from behind the circle that he knocked in with his stick with 6:29 left in the game. Roy pulled Varlamov with 2:44 remaining, and this time the daring move backfired after it led to tying goals for the Avalanche in Games 1 and 5. Jason Pominville and Marco Scandella found the back of the net for the Wild, and the celebration was on. Matt Duchene returned to the Avalanche lineup and notched an assist in extensive time on the power play, after missing the last month due to a left knee injury. The Avalanche leader with 70 points during the regular season, Duchene wasnt cleared for action until minutes before faceoff. "He was flying out there. He was playing well. He was playing hard," Roy said. He wasnt the only one. Ryan OReilly had two assists, and the Avalanche refused to express any frustration afterward, even though theyll be in an elimination situation for the first time in the series. "If thats what its going to need to be, then thats what its going to need to be," Avalanche right wing P.A. Parenteau said. "Its been a battle back and forth with the Wild. Were lucky we have the home ice advantage, but were going to have to be ready." NOTES: The Wild went 18-4-2 when Parise scored a goal in the regular season. ... Duchene said he felt all right: "Youve got to learn to trust an injury like that coming back, and as the game wore on I felt a lot more confident with it. Theres still a long ways to go." ' ' '

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