Canadian juniors fill net vs. Denmark as final roster set
Coach Dominique Ducharme reduces team from 27 to a tournament-ready 22
Dante Fabbro has enjoyed welcoming new players to Canada's junior team and keeping it loose in the locker room.
But he was more than ready to actually play a game, finally getting the chance on Friday as Canada beat Denmark 5-2. It was the Boston University defenceman's first game at Hockey Canada's selection camp ahead of the world junior hockey championship as he healed up a contusion.
At the start of the camp, the coaching staff had asked Fabbro and the six other players returning from last year's silver-medal team to make sure newer players were comfortable. As Fabbro spent most of his time off the ice, he threw himself into rolling out the welcome mat.
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"Leading up to the games, just hanging out with the guys who weren't playing, getting to know everyone," said Fabbro. "It's been good so far but it's obviously not fun sitting out and not being able to out there. I just wanted to get as healthy as possible so I can play."
Jordan Kyrou had a goal and an assist to lead Canada and Ottawa Senators prospect Alex Formenton had the eventual winner late in the second period. Boris Katchouk, Brett Howden and Tyler Steenbergen also scored.
Fabbro left the game early, but he said it was just precautionary and that head coach Dominique Ducharme had given him permission to leave the bench toward the end of the third period.
"It was good to see him back on the ice," said Ducharme. "He was a good player last year and I think he's progressed well. You see his maturity in his game physically, he's hard on battles, he's retrieving a lot of pucks, winning one-on-ones. It's good to see him back."
Joachim Blichfeld and Phillip Schultz replied for Denmark.
Both teams changed goalies midway through the game. Colton Point started in net for Canada, stopping 4-of-5 shots before giving way to Michael DiPietro, who made eight saves.
Emil Gransoe turned aside 21-of-23 shots in the first 30 minutes of play for Denmark. Mads Sogaard stopped 27-of-30.
Defencemen Kale Clague and Conor Timmins, forwards Dillon Dube and Jonah Gajovich and goalie Carter Hart did not dress for the game. Their exclusion from the game is an indication that they all likely made Canada's final roster.
Canada's 22-player lineup was settled later Friday, with five players being sent home after the win over Denmark.
Forwards Tanner Kaspick and Nick Suzuki were released, as were defencemen Josh Mahura and Mario Ferraro as well as goalie Michael DiPietro.
A visibly upset DiPietro spoke to media minutes after being released.
"Not something you expect coming into camp but I respect their decision," said DiPietro with tears in his eyes. "I wish them all the best. I told them they're going to win gold. They don't look good with silver around their necks anyway."
'Back in the swing'
Fabbro was glad to get back into a game because, as a defenceman, playing an actual opponent is better preparation than running drills against teammates. He was especially pleased to play against Denmark's European-style offence where he could practise reading their intricate passing plays.
"It was good getting back in the swing of things after being hurt for a bit," said Fabbro. "I felt pretty good. A little later in the game I felt it a little cardio-wise and where my contusion is but guys helped me a lot out there and get back into the swing of things."
Canada will play exhibition games against Czech Republic on Wednesday in London, Ont., and Switzerland on Dec. 22 in Hamilton. The Canadians' final roster must be submitted to the International Ice Hockey Federation by Dec. 25. Their first game is in Buffalo, N.Y., on Dec. 26.
- Carter Hart, Sherwood Park, Alta., Everett (WHL)
- Colton Point, North Bay, Ont., Colgate University (NCAA, ECAC)
- Jake Bean, Calgary, Calgary (WHL)
- Kale Clague, Lloydminster, Alta., Brandon (WHL)
- Dante Fabbro, Coquitlam, B.C., Boston University (NCAA, Hockey East)
- Cal Foote, Kelowna, B.C., Kelowna (WHL)
- Cale Makar, Calgary, Univ. of Massachusetts (NCAA, Hockey East)
- Victor Mete, Woodbridge, Ont., Montreal (NHL)
- Conor Timmins, Thorold, Ont., Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
- Drake Batherson, New Minas, N.S., Cape Breton (QMJHL)
- Maxime Comtois, Longueuil, Que., Victoriaville (QMJHL)
- Dillon Dube, Cochrane, Alta., Kelowna (WHL)
- Alex Formenton, King City, Ont., London
- Jonah Gadjovich, Whitby, Ont., Owen Sound (OHL)
- Brett Howden, Oakbank, Man., Moose Jaw (WHL)
- Boris Katchouk Waterloo, Ont., Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
- Jordan Kyrou Toronto, Sarnia (OHL)
- Michael McLeod Mississauga, Ont., Mississauga (OHL)
- Taylor Raddysh Caledon, Ont., Erie (OHL).
- Sam Steel, Sherwood Park, Alta., Regina (WHL)
- Tyler Steenbergen, Sylvan Lake, Alta., Swift Current (WHL)
- Robert Thomas Aurora, Ont., London (OHL)