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WJHC: Pickard, Sonne and Tavares shine in intrasquad game

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The Canadian Press
12/12/2008 10:41:38 PM
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OTTAWA - The players expected to be goalscorers at the Canadian junior hockey team's selection camp did just that in Friday's intrasquad game.

Calgary Hitmen forward Brett Sonne, the WHL's leading scorer, had a pair of goals and an assist in Team White's 6-3 win over Red, while Oshawa Generals forward John Tavares had a hat trick for Red.

''There's a lot of goalscorers here and I just wanted to do anything to get noticed,'' Sonne said. ''Tonight I was able to bury some pucks, but I'm also looking to finish checks and get things deep so I was happy with my performance tonight.''

Tavares, who could be the first overall pick in the 2009 NHL draft, showcased his puckhandling skills and drew admiration from the 5,000 at Scotiabank place with three showy goals.

''It's nice to score and that's what I do, but I just try and make sure I cover all areas of the ice and not letting the puck go in my net as well,'' Tavares said.

The intrasquad game was the first of three scheduled during selection camp, which ends Monday when Pat Quinn will choose 22 players from the 38 invited.

Canada opens the 2009 world junior hockey championship Dec. 26 in Ottawa.

Regina Pats forward Jordan Eberle put to rest any doubts about his health with a goal and an assist for White. He'd required treatment for a hip flexor injury prior to arriving at camp.

''I was a little worried they were going to use that against me, but for sure, but I think this probably helps a lot just to say I'm OK,'' Eberle said.

Matt Duchene of the Brampton Battalion and Medicine Hat's Tyler Ennis each contributed a goal and an assist and Brayden Schenn of the Brandon Wheat Kings also scored for White.

Ottawa 67's defenceman Tyler Cuma suffered a knee injury in the game and did not return. Head coach Pat Quinn did not sound hopefuly that Cuma would be able to continue at selection camp.

''He hurt it pretty good and we're not sure how extensive it is at this point, but our doctor feels there might be a big problem there,'' Quinn said. ''It's not good news it looks like at this point.''

Chet Pickard of the Tri-City Americans started in net for White and stopped seven of eight shots before giving way to Spokane's Dustin Tokarski, who made 18 saves on 20 shots.

Montreal Junior goaltender Jake Allen and Tyson Sexsmith of the Vancouver Giants each allowed three goals on 17 shots in their halves of the game for Red.

Windsor Spitfires Taylor Hall, London's Nazem Kadri, Ottawa's Tyler Cuma and Belleville's PK Subban also had assists for White.

Wisconsin defencemen Cody Goloubef and Brendan Smith, Seattle Thunderbirds defencemen Thomas Hickey, Jamie Arniel of the Sarnia Sting and Montreal's Angelo Esposito assisted on Tavares's goals.

Sonne, a third-round draft pick of the NHL's St. Louis Blues, is the leading scorer in the Western Hockey League with 23 goals and 32 assists in 34 games. He scored on his own rebound off a neat backhand pass from Eberle for his first goal. Sonne pounced on a Subban rebound for his second.

''He moved the puck around well,'' Quinn said. ''I was apprised of his scoring prowess and he showed it this evening.''

Tavares twice deked his way through traffic to score goals and dropped to his knee to finish another on a tricky pass through traffic by Hickey.

''The team he was on wasn't particularly good early on, but he was a guy who was getting some offensive chances and he did what he does well, that's for sure,'' Quinn said of Tavares. ''Obviously that's what we're looking for out of him.''

Ennis scored a hard-working goal in the third when he dished the puck from his knees over to Sonne and recovered in time for the return feed to beat Sexsmith.

Brandon Wheat Kings forward Matt Calvert did not play Friday nor did he skate in the morning because of a lower back injury suffered prior to arriving at camp.

Chet Pickard (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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