CORNWALL, Ont. – Team West got a pair of goals, including the game-winner, from Kale Howarth (Trail Smoke Eaters, BCHL) to help his side edge Team East 4-3 Wednesday evening in the Canadian Junior Hockey League Prospects Game at Ed Lumley Arena in Cornwall, Ont., in front of nearly 1,700 fans and over 150 NHL, NCAA, CIS and CHL scouts.
The opening 15 minutes of the contest saw the two sides get used to their surroundings and their new teammates in a feeling out process.
Team West would eventually open the scoring at 16:31 of the first when Marcus Mitchell (Salmon Arm Silverbacks, BCHL) finished off a feed from Cody Laskosky (Whitecourt Wolverines, AJHL) and beat East starter Anand Oberoi (Kanata Lasers, CCHL).
Countering quickly, Team East notched the equalizer just over a minute later when Mel Melconian’s (Aurora Tigers, OJHL) effort eluded West goaltender Connor Dochuk (Spruce Grove Saints, AJHL) to knot the affair at 1-1 after one. Matthew Barnaby (Pembroke Lumber Kings, CCHL) drew an assist on the play.
The West went back in front in the middle session as they finished off well-played two-on-one as Laskosky did a quick pull back with the puck and saucered a perfect pass over to Desi Burgart (Surrey Eagles, BCHL) who made no mistake by roofing his chance high over Oberoi.
Both sides made goaltender changes midway through the contest with Nate McDonald (Powassan Voodoos, NOJHL) and Ty Taylor (Vernon Vipers, BCHL) entering the game for the East and West respectively.
Team West continued to press the pace and were rewarded with their third tally of the night as Howarth stuffed a loose puck past McDonald after a left point shot from Jarrod Gourley Spruce Grove Saints, AJHL) at 14:01.
Despite being outplayed for a large part of the session and outshot 23-8 in the period, Team East got one back at 17:43 when Josh Cammalleri (Cobourg Cougars, OJHL) started a play off with a pass back to the point and then capitalized on a goal-mouth scramble with assists going Phillip Lagunov (Burlington Cougars, OJHL) and Matthieu Franche (Smiths Falls Bears, CCHL).
Howarth added another 2:47 into the third for the West as his nifty, between the legs, redirection allowed the puck to slide past McDonald to make it 4-2.
Battling back, Team East moved back to within a goal midway through the stanza as Cameron Wright (St. Michael’s Buzzers, OJHL) finished off the work of Bobby Dow (Kemptville 73’s, CCHL) and Bryce Misley (Oakville Blades, OJHL).
The East had a late man advantage opportunity and also pulled McDonald in an effort to knot the score and force overtime, but Taylor and the rest of West defenders stood tall to secure the win.
Team West held a big edge in shots on goal on the night at 46-22 overall.
Both Dochuck and Taylor faced 11 attempts apiece while Oberoi and McDonald made 17 and 25 saves respectively.
CJHL player of the game laurels went to defencemen Matthew Kellenberger (Oakville Blades, CCHL) of Team East and Ian Mitchell (Spruce Grove Saints, AJHL).
With the result, Team West captured their seventh President’s Cup Prospects Game title in the 12-year history of the event.
All-Time CJHL Prospects Game President’s Cup Winners
2006: Team West 5 Team East 4 (Yorkton, Sask.)
2007: Team West 6 Team East 2 (Vernon, B.C.)
2008: Team East 5 Team West 3 (Winkler, Man.)
2009: Team East 6 Team West 3 (Summerside, P.E.I.)
2010: Team West 8 Team East 3 (8-1, 0-2) (Winkler, Man.)
2011: Team East 9 Team West 2 (2-1 SO, 7-1) (Dauphin, Man.)
2012: Team West 9 Team East 6 (4-3 OT, 5-3) (Langley, B.C.)
2013: Team West 8 Team East 6 (5-0, 3-6) (Digby/Yarmouth, N.S.)
2014: Team East 8 Team West 4 (4-2, 4-2) (Digby/Yarmouth, N.S.)
2015: Team West 3 Team East 2 (Oakville, Ont.)
2016: Team East 3 Team West 1 (Surrey, B.C.)
2017: Team West 4 Team East 3 (Cornwall, Ont.)