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Blue Jackets Prospects Shine at the 2005 Canada/Russia Challenge

by Staff Writer / Columbus Blue Jackets
Kris Russell scored the first goal of the game as Team WHL defeated the Russian Selects, 3-1 on Thursday, Dec. 1, to help Canada skate to perfect 6-0 record at the 2005 Canada/Russia Challenge.

The Tournament, which was held from Nov. 21 – Dec. 1, put an all-star team made up of Russians against an all-star team comprised of the QMJHL, the OHL and the WHL.

Team QMJHL began the tournament posting a 2-0 record against the Russian Selects, winning 7-4 on Day 1, and 6-4 on Day 2 of the event.

Two CBJ prospects also played for Team OHL, helping the squad to a perfect 2-0 record against the Russian Selects. D Kyle Wharton scored 0-1-1 in two games and G Dan La Costa went 1-0 with a 2.00 GAA saving 25-of-27 shots in his start, a 5-2 victory on Nov. 24. Team OHL also won, 5-1 on Nov. 28.

Team WHL capped the tournament posting two victories, 9-2 on Nov. 30, and 3-1 on Dec. 1 to conclude the tournament.

Entering this season, La Costa, Columbus’ third pick, 93rd overall in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, had appeared in 111 OHL games, posting a 50-32-8 record with a 3.02 GAA and five shut outs for Owen Sound and Barrie. This season he is 14-5-1-1 with a 2.40 GAA and a .924 SV% leading the OHL in GAA, SV % and shut outs (3) while being tied for second in wins.

Wharton, Columbus’ second pick, 59th overall in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, has skated in 27 games for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds posting 5-11-16.

Russell, drafted this past year with Columbus’ third pick, 67th overall in the 2005 Draft, has appeared in 25 games for the Medicine Hat Tigers, posting 6-15-21.

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