NORTH SYDNEY, N.S. – Matteo Gennaro (St. Albert, Alta./Prince Albert, WHL) scored two goals and added an assist as Pacific defeated West 6-3 in a preliminary round game Monday at the 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
Brad Morrison (Prince George, B.C./Prinace George, WHL), Giorgio Estephan (Edmonton, Alta./Lethbridge, WHL), Tyler Benson (Edmonton, Alta./Pursuit of Excellence, CSSHL) and Tyler Soy (Surrey, B.C./Victoria, WHL) also scored for Pacific.
Colton Conrad (St. Alphonse, Man./Shattuck-St. Mary’s, U.S. Prep) scored twice for West, while Connor Hobbs (Saskatoon, Sask./Saskatoon, WHL) added the other goal.
Coming off a disappointing loss to Quebec the night before, Pacific (1-1) was looking to bounce back against its western neighbours. But West was playing its first game of the tournament and came out strong, fresh legs flying.
The teams exchanged early first period goals. Gennaro pounced on a giveaway by West defenceman Ethan Bear (Ochapowace, Sask./Seattle, WHL) to put Pacific up a goal. Two minutes later, Matthew Campese (Prince Albert, Sask./Okanagan Hockey Academy, CSSHL) shot wide of the Pacific net, but the boards returned the puck to Conrad’s stick, which redirected the puck past goalie Zach Sawchenko (Calgary, Alta./Moose Jaw, WHL).
After Morrison and Estephan made it 3-1 Pacific, the lively boards at the Emera Centre Northside got their second assist of the evening. A point shot from Nick Merkley (Calgary, Alta./Kelowna, WHL) went wide, but 15-year-old Benson stuffed the ricocheted puck into the back of the net.
Hobbs scored the only goal of the second period on the power play to cut the Pacific lead to 4-2.
Gennaro netted his second goal of the game a minute into the third, with a slap shot from the right boards.
West was given a great opportunity to cut the deficit after Gennaro (tripping) and Sawchenko (delay of game) were whistled for minors 30 seconds apart. Conrad capitalized on the two-man advantage by burying his own rebound.
Soy put the game out of reach with less than three minutes to play on an outstanding individual effort on the power play. Skating toward the net from the right boards, he dragged the puck from his backhand to his forehand as he crossed in front of the crease and slipped the puck past West netminder Logan Flodell (Regina, Sask./Regina, SMAAAHL).
West’s next game is against the Czech Republic on Tuesday afternoon in North Sydney (2 p.m. AT). Pacific has tomorrow off before it gets its chance versus the Czechs on Wednesday night, also in North Sydney (7 p.m. AT).
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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