Canada West goalie Curtis Skip could not stop smiling after the team’s 4-3 Saturday, Nov. 3 exhibition game win over USA in Barrington.
Not only did Skip stop the two USA shots in the shoot out to secure his team’s win, but the goalie from Grand Prairie, Alberta said he’s just really excited to be taking part in the World Junior A Challenge.
“It’s unreal. It’s a dream come true to wear the Canadian sweater and to do it in front of this great crowd tonight and give them a great game tonight, it just feels unbelievable,” he told the Yarmouth Vanguard.
Canada West is the reigning gold medal world challenge champion. Still, Skip said the exhibition win is a great boost for the team’s confidence heading into this tournament, and for his own performance as well.
“Absolutely. We battled, we faced a lot of adversities. A lot of power plays, a lot of penalty kills, we just battled through it in that overtime and it gives us huge confidence,” he said. Canada West actually played the entire overtime shorthanded due to penalties. “But we can’t get over excited. The real work begins tomorrow as we work towards the tournament opener.”
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The 18-year-old goalie says when he learned he made the team his phone lit up with calls and he’s still getting texts from family and friends. Incidentally, his mother’s side of the family has ties to Nova Scotia, he says. “I’ve never been here before but I love it,” he said.
Troy Stecher (Richmond, B.C./Penticton, BCHL) and Alex Kerfoot (West Vancouver, B.C./Coquitlam, BCHL) each scored a goal in the shootout to help Canada West come out on top in a 4-3 victory over the United States in World Junior A Challenge pre-tournament play Saturday night. The score volleyed back and forth throughout the game.
Stecher and Kerfoot scored on the Canadians’ two shootout attempts, while Skip, in net, turned aside Taylor Cammarata and Austin Cangelosi on the American opportunities.
Dylan Richard (Sherwood Park, Alta./Spruce Grove, AJHL), Nolan De Jong (Victoria, B.C./Victoria, BCHL) and Aaron Hadley (Castlegar, B.C./Vernon, BCHL) scored the goals in regulation time for Canada West, which twice fought back from one-goal deficits in the second period and took its first lead when Hadley scored with 11 seconds left in the middle frame.
Austin Cangelosi tied the game just 74 seconds into the third period for the U.S., which also got two goals from J.T. Stenglein. The Americans held a 50-30 advantage in shots on goal, including 22-6 in the final 20 minutes of regulation.
Skip and Jonah Imoo (Surrey, B.C./Powell River, BCHL) shared the goaltending duties for the Canadians, combining for 47 saves, while Eamon McAdam and Michael Bitzer split time in the U.S. goal, finishing with 27 stops.
Canada West is off on the tournament’s opening day, seeing its first action against the Czech Republic on Tuesday (4 p.m. AT), while the Americans will meet Canada East on Monday night (7:30 p.m. AT).