Monday, 21 April 2014

Canada is 3-and-0 at World U18 Championship

John Quenneville
  So far, so good for Canada at the World Under-18 Hockey Championship in Finland.

  Canada improved to 3-and-0 Sunday with a 2-1 victory over Slovakia, with Brendan Perlini's second goal of the game with 6:37 left being the difference.

  Sunday's victory followed a 3-1 win over Sweden Thursday and a 5-2 victory over Germany Saturday and has Canada on the cusp of clinching top spot in Pool B heading into their final round-robin game against Russia on Tuesday.

  "We've played three good games and we have a really good team here," said Wheat Kings' centre John Quenneville in a phone interview from Finland, "If we play the way we have, we're going to continue to win games."

  Quenneville is pointless in three games at the tournament, and is playing on a line with Brandon teammate Jayce Hawryluk and Daniel Audette from Sherbrooke (QMJHL).

  He says there are more of an energy line, while he and Hawryluk are also teaming up to kill penalties for Canada.

  Quenneville adds there's been an adjustment for him, going from a North American size rink to the wider ice surface used internationally.

  "It's definitely an adjustment.  It's a little weird for me, coming straight from WHL playoffs and coming out on the ice in games," said Quenneville, who is pointless at the tournament so far, "It's different, there's more space for games, but it just means you have to skate faster."

  Wheat Kings' defenceman Ryan Pilon is also with the Canadian team, while Elkhorn product Travis Sanheim is one of his fellow blueliners on the squad.

  Sanheim and parterned with his Calgary Hitmen teammate Ben Thomas, his regular partner when playing in the WHL this season.

  "It's really nice to be able to have chemistry right from the get-go.  Being able to bring Ben over and having him to play alongside me," said Sanheim on Monday, "It makes it a lot easier and even the coaching staff, it makes it a lot easier to have guys that already have chemistry together and not have to build that from the get-go."

Travis Sanheim celebrates a goal with his Canadian
teammates in Sunday's win over Slovakia.
  A year ago at this time, Sanheim wasn't even 100 per cent sure he'd be playing in the Western Hockey League.

  Now the 18-year old is representing his country and is likely to be at least a mid-round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft.

  "After playing midget last year and then making the jump to the Western Hockey League this year, I probably wouldn't have thought that I'd have the year that I did," said Sanheim, "Been able to play at the Under-18's and have a chance to get drafted this year."

  Sanheim was ranked 53rd among North American skaters in the final rankings by the NHL Central Scouting Service.

Chaff...Wheat Kings' captain Ryan Pulock recorded his first career professional point, an assist on a power-play goal, in Bridgeport's 3-2 overtime victory in Adirondack on Friday.  Pulock finished with one assist, -1 and 2 PIM in three games with the Sound Tigers, who missed the AHL playoffs.

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