OKOTOKS, Alta. – Team West picked up a goal and an assist from Luke Bast (Brooks Bandits, AJHL) to help propel his side to a 5-2 triumph over Team East in the Canadian Junior Hockey League Prospects Game Tuesday evening at Pason Centennial Arena in Okotoks, Alta., in front of a large crowd that featured well-over 200 scouts from the NHL, CHL, NCAA and U Sports.
It didn’t take the West long to open the night’s scoring as defenceman Jeremie Bucheler (Victoria Grizzlies, BCHL) darted down the slot and fired a shot past Team East netminder Gabriel Carriere (Kanata Lasers, CCHL) at 2:21.
Regrouping a couple of shifts later, the East picked up the equalizer when blueliner Dakota Betts (Whitby Fury, OJHL) corralled the puck off his own shot that was blocked then wristed one just inside the West zone towards the net that was neatly redirected by John Beaten (Kemptville73s, CCHL), who was parked in front of Team West starter Matthew Davis (Spruce Grove Saints, AJHL).
Featuring 40 of the top CJHL NHL Draft-eligible prospects taking part, the fast-paced first frame continued with end-to-end action from there, however the remainder of the session was scoreless, which saw the West hold a 15-6 edge in shots on goal.
Heading to the middle stanza, Team West broke out in numbers just past the six-minute mark of the period and some crisp puck movement resulted in Layton Ahac (Prince George Spruce Kings, BCHL) finishing off a three-way passing way with Kevin Wall (Chilliwack Chiefs, BCHL) and Quinn Olson (Okotoks Oilers, AJHL) to go back on top.
Midway through the match-up, the two teams would change goalkeepers with Carter Gylander (Sherwood Park Crusaders, AJHL) coming in for the West while Mitchell Weeks (Newmarket Hurricanes, OJHL) drawing in for the East.
It was more West later in the stanza as Bast’s lengthy stretch pass found the tape of Olson who darted in alone on Weeks, cut right and tucked in his chance into the open side of the net.
Going to the power play early in the third, the West added to their cushion as Bast crossed from his left point position over to the right side and skated in unguarded and promptly one-timed a Harrison Blaisdell (Chilliwack Chiefs, BCHL) cross-ice feed that flew past Weeks.
Skating four aside, Team East got back into it with half a period to play as they broke out on a two-on-one with Simon Mack (Brockville Braces, CCHL) nicely setting up Derek Seguin (Timmins Rock, NOJHL), who buried his chance from the left wing at 10:01.
Opting to pull their goalkeeper in the late going in favour of an extra attacker, Team East pressed to draw closer, but the West sealed the decision when Okotoks native Zachary Okabe (Grande Prairie Storm, AJHL) put one into an empty net to round out the night’s scoring in his hometown.
Wall dished out two assists on the night to help lead the winners offensively.
Shots on goal on the night favoured Team West by a 37-27 margin with Gylander picking up the victory in relief while Weeks suffered the setback.
Player of the Game honours went to Ahac and Carriere.
With the result, Team West comes away in their third consecutive Prospects Game and extended their overall series lead nine wins to five.
Photo credit: Chad Goddard
All-Time CJHL Prospects Game President’s Cup results
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.)
2018: Team West 5 Team East 2 (Mississauga, Ont.)
2019: Team West 5 Team East 2 (Okotoks, Alta.)