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Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Sutter likes junior team's stuff

Mightily impressed by performance of his squad against university stars

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TORONTO -- Coach Brent Sutter liked what he saw as his Canadian junior team dominated the CIS Toronto Selects in exhibition play on Saturday afternoon.

Connor McDavid, the 16-year-old prodigy who draws most of the attention, scored Canada's first goal and big Josh Anderson threw his weight around and scored as Canada downed the Selects 3-0.

Left winger Charles Hudon finished it off with an empty-net goal in the final minute.

"I was pleased with a lot of things," said Sutter. "There were times in the third where we have to be careful in our own zone. We can't be soft on pucks. We have to do everything hard and do it the right way.

"But if you look at the opportunities we had... All three of their goalies played really well for them, but it was good to see. We did a lot of good things."

Canada outshot the Selects -- a combination of three area university teams -- 56-20. Sutter isn't worried that, considering the number of chances they produced, the finish around the net wasn't quite there yet.

It was only the second day of a three-day camp at the Mastercard Centre to kick off preparations for the world junior championship that begins Dec. 26 in Malmo, Sweden.

The team will have an off-ice workout this morning before flying to Sweden, where they will play pre-tournament games against Finland, the Swedes and Switzerland before the real games begin.

"I know all these guys can score goals," said Sutter. "So it's getting them to become a team first and foremost. Getting them to understand roles they'll have to play on this team and making sure everything is within the confines of how we want to play, our identity as a hockey team."

There are 25 players in camp and the roster will be trimmed to 22 -- two goalies, seven defencemen and 13 forwards -- for the tournament. No cuts will be made until the squad gets to Sweden. They could come after the first pre-tournament game Dec. 20 against the Finns.

Sutter had encouraging news on Jonathan Drouin, the gifted winger who is expected to be an offensive motor for Canada. The Halifax Mooseheads star, who suffered a concussion last week in Quebec Major Junior Hockey league play, was symptom free after riding a stationary bike and may be fit to resume skating when the team gets to Europe.

"We'll get him to go a little farther (on Sunday) and if that goes well, we'll get him on the ice when we go overseas," the coach said.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 15, 2013 B5

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