The Canadian Under-21 Men’s National Team wrapped up its Vancouver-area All-Star series with a 6-3 win against the Surrey All-Stars Sunday evening. The won gave the junior men a record of two wins and one loss in the three-game competition in preparation for the 2016 Junior Men’s Pan American Championships.
“I’d say we’re cohesive as a team,” says forward Fin Boothroyd. “These games helped us bond. We’re definitely a tighter group than we were before selections, and that’s always good going into a big tournament.”
Boothroyd will be playing in his first tournament for Canada at the Junior Pan Ams in Toronto. And like many of his teammates – who will also be competing in their first major international tournament – the All-Star series was a perfect way for him to get competition ready.
“We got our feet under us,” he adds. “We had a humbling loss I’d say to West Vancouver (8-4 loss in Game 2 on Saturday). And that will keep our egos in check going into Pan Ams when we’ll be facing some better teams like Argentina.”
The Canadian juniors won the first game of the series 3-2 against the Vancouver Hawks All-Stars, a team which had two current members of the Canadian Senior Men’s National Team (David Jameson and Richard Hildreth). Canada’s goals in the win came from Rohan Chopra, Shahbaaz Dhaliwal, and Kabir Aujla.
The juniors followed up the win with an 8-4 loss to the West Vancouver All-Stars on Saturday. The West Van team featured four current members of the senior team (Scott Tupper, Mark Pearson, James Kirkpatrick, and Floris van Son) as well as several former members including Rob Short, who is second in all-time international games played for Canada’s men with 346.
Balraj Panesar, Amrit Sidhu, Bradon Pereira, and Chopra scored in the losing effort against West Vancouver, while Thomson Harris, Panesar, Aujla, Johnny Gill, and Boothroyd scored in Sunday’s win against Surrey, which featured senior team atheltes Sukhi Panesar, Jagdish Gill, and Devohn Noronha-Teixeira.
“I think we’re pretty prepared now after these games,” says Aujla, who scored in two of the three All-Star games.
Based on their performance in the series and the feedback from the coaches throughout, Aujla and his teammates have a better understanding of what will make them successful in Toronto.
“The basic stuff” he adds. “Just knowing your role and everyone doing the little things right.”
Canada opens the Junior Men’s Pan American Championships on May 20 against Mexico at 2:30pm PT/5:30pm ET. The game will be live streamed on the International Hockey Federation YouTube Channel.
The top two finishers at the Junior Pan Ams earn a spot at the 2016 Junior World Cup in India later this year.
For Canada’s full Junior Pan American Championship schedule, results, and game recaps, click here.