This article first appeared on CIS-SIC.ca on Dec. 14, 2013.
TORONTO – It wasn’t the final result that the CIS Toronto Selects wanted on Saturday afternoon at the MasterCard Centre in Etobicoke, but the majority will tell you, it was a lot of fun.
Playing against Team Canada’s under-20 national junior team, the Selects were blanked 3-0. The exhibition matchup was a tune-up for the national junior team who will be competing in the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships in Malmö, Sweden from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5, 2014.
The Selects were comprised of 21 players; seven each from the Toronto Varsity Blues, York Lions and Ryerson Rams.
Brian Birkhoff (Richmond Hill, Ont.), a third-year defencemen with the Rams, enjoyed his experience playing against the top junior talent in Canada.
“It was fun, it was a great honour. I just tried to make the most of it by playing the way I can play and just having fun with it.”
Garrett Sheehan (Cremona, Alta.) of the Varsity Blues started in net for the Selects and was outstanding in the first period, making 19 saves. One of those saves involved Sheehan desperately sticking his left pad across the crease to rob World Junior hopeful, Connor McDavid.
“I think I let out a lot of rebounds so after the rebound I was just trying to be ready for him and get anything I could on it, so I stretched out my leg as far as I could and I think I kind of got lucky that he wasn’t able to get it over and I think Birkhoff was able to clear it out of the way after that because I couldn’t stretch for the second shot,” said Sheehan.
The first period also saw the Selects being short handed for long stretches at a time and going to the penalty box four times. Sheehan was impressed with the penalty kill his team brought to the table.
“In a game like that where there’s a lot of shots too, I think that those penalty kills have kind of a drain on us physically and mentally and we were able to just keep it simple.”
Canada was held off the scoreboard until 6:20 of the second period when it was McDavid banging a goal past York’s Andrew Perugini (King City, Ont.) to put the national team up, 1-0.
Just 15 seconds into the third period and with Troy Passingham (Mississauga, Ont.) of Ryerson in the net, Josh Anderson, a 2012 draft pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets made it 2-0.
Charles Hudon, a fifth-round draft pick of the Montreal Canadiens in 2012 would add an empty-net goal to secure the victory.
Zach Fucale, a goaltender for the Halifax Mooseheads in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) got the win while Perugini got the hook for the loss.
– It was a special game for York’s Mike Lombardi who was playing along side his brother Daniel, from Ryerson. “We talked about it at home before we came here together and just playing with each other, our parents were here in the stands and it was a nice treat and probably the last time we’ll ever have that chance.”