December 14, 2011
Final junior cuts madeTeam Canada set at 22 players
By SCOTT FISHER, QMI Agency
CALGARY - The final cuts have been made.
Team Canada has been named.
A trio of Montreal Canadiens prospects will go for gold in Calgary and Edmonton this holiday season.
Wingers Brendan Gallagher (Vancouver Giants) and Michael Bournival (Shawinigan Cataractes) and defenceman Nathan Beaulieu (Saint John Sea Dogs) all survived Wednesday's early morning cuts.
"It says something about the organization and the scouting staff," Beaulieu said.
"It's exciting that I have two other prospects to share this with."
Returnee Mark Visentin, one of four Niagara IceDogs to crack the lineup, and Scott Wedgewood (Plymouth Whalers) will be between the pipes for Team Canada when the tournament gets underway on Boxing Day.
Brothers Freddie and Dougie Hamilton, the first brother combination to play for Team Canada in 30 years, and Ryan Strome are also from the IceDogs.
Edmonton Oil Kings defenceman Mark Pysyk is the lone representative of the host province while Ryan Murray (Everett Silvertips), Brandon Gormley (Moncton Wildcats), Jamie Oleksiak (Saginaw Spirit) and Scott Harrington (London Knights) round out the blueline.
NHL loaners Brett Connolly (Tampa Bay Lightning) and Devante Smith-Pelly along with returning winger Jaden Schwartz (Colorado College), injured star Jonathan Huberdeau (Sea Dogs) and Winnipeg Jets prospect Mark Scheifele (Barrie Colts) will be looked to for offensive production up front.
Brandon Wheat Kings sniper Mark Stone and injured Moose Jaw Warriors winger Quinton Howden made the cut as well as Tanner Pearson (Barrie Colts) and Boone Jenner (Oshawa Generals).
Beaulieu said he didn't get much sleep as he waited to see if he'd get the dreaded phone call, or an in-person, congratulatory visit from the coaching staff.
"It was nerve-wracking waiting for the knock on the door or the call," said Beaulieu, the Habs' top pick in last summer's NHL Entry Draft (17th overall).
"I didn't know which one it was going to be.
"Fortunately, it was a knock, and I was very excited."
Bournival said suiting up for Team Canada is a lifelong dream.
"I'm really excited to be a part of this team," Bournival said.
"Since I was young, I watched that tournament at Christmas, so it's a great honour."
Canada kicks off it's three-game pre-tournament schedule Monday at the Saddledome against Finland.
On Twitter: @SUNScottFisher