Over the last two days and wrapping up this afternoon, Team Canada’s WJC hopefuls have been playing a team of U Sports all stars to help the team determine who will be cut and to get ready for the WJC which begins in just 12 days.
The format for goalies is simple: Each of the three: Ian Scott, Michael DiPietro and Matthew Villalta take the net for the opposition and face Team Canada backed up by the other two goaltending contenders, who each take half the game.
In game one, playing for 30 minutes, Scott allowed one goal and then a couple in the shootout as Team Canada ultimately won that one. In game two, playing for the U Sports all stars, Scott got the win for the challengers 5-3 over Team Canada. Nikolas Brouillard, who played for one year on the Orlando Solar Bears where he was very good for the ECHL, now plays for McGill, and he led U Sports with 2 points. Also with two points was another former Solar Bear, Christopher Clapperton, who now plays for the University of New Brunswick.
Game three goes this afternoon in Victoria, BC at 2p.m. local time. If you live out there, you can likely skip work and get tickets to the game. If you don’t, the game is available on TSN.ca to subscribers. We should expect to see DiPietro in net for U Sports and Scott and Villata split the game for Team Canada.
Team Canada made some cuts last night releasing:
- Raphael Lavoie
- Cameron Crotty
- Ty Dellandrea
- Calen Addison
Team still has to release one goaltender, three defencemen and four forwards.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) December 14, 2018
In the past, teams have played with three goalies at the WJC, but if Team Canada is confident they can have a good one-two punch with the best two out of this three goalies, they leave a spot open for an extra defender. The team brought extra defence this year to choose from.
Going into this test against the U Sports players, the pecking order was considered to be DiPietro, Scott and then Villalta a distinct third, but with an opportunity to impress. So far, judging just from score sheets, no one has dropped the ball, and if anything they’ve all just clumped up tighter, with Scott making a strong case by getting the win over Team Canada that he isn’t the automatic second fiddle to DiPietro.
DiPietro has the track record and the prestige of a Memorial Cup win if it comes to a tie breaker. He plays in the OHL, and gets media attention, but it pays to remember that these decisions are made by the coaching staff of the team and Hockey Canada. The head coach of Team Canada is Tim Hunter, coach of the Moose Jaw Warriors, so he’s really familiar with that fellow from Prince Albert, the team that never loses, even if the media is all DiPietro all the time.
So far Villalta looks just barely like the odd-man out, but nothing is certain until the final cuts come.
Scott had a rougher going today playing for Canada vs U Sports with DiPietro in net, but in the end, the team did the expected:
Team releases Matt Villalta.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) December 15, 2018
Ian Scott is one of two Team Canada goalies going to the WJC! Next job: earn some starts in meaningful games.