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Quebec: A Strong Start

by Paul Strand / Carolina Hurricanes
For the eighth consecutive year, the Carolina Hurricanes are sending a team to the Quebec International Pee Wee Hockey TournamentThe Pee Wee team is comprised of 18 youth hockey players (ages 11 and 12) from the Carolinas, who will be led and coached by Canes Youth and Amateur coordinator Paul Strand. 

Throughout the tournament, Strand will be blogging to offer insight on the team’s play, countless experiences from the historic city, the tales and triumphs of individual players and more.   Over the eight years of play in the tournament, the Carolina Hurricanes squad has become very competitive and will once again be viewed as a contender.

Thanks for reading and come back often!

February 13

Friday was a very eventful day. The team was going to finally see what the hockey would be like in Quebec City. After years of dreaming and six months of anticipation, the day was finally here for the kids to step on the ice in the great white north.

Paul Strand
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As a team they had only been together for a couple of scrimmages against the Bantam AAA Junior Hurricanes team, which is made up almost entirely of former Quebec attendees, so except for learning some things about the team's work ethic, the rest was totally left to the imagination.

Hurricanes vs. Long Island Titans

The first game would be against the Long Island Titans. The Titans are new to the tournament and their kids were ready to go well before game time. They were a good first team to start with as they were not the strongest, but good enough that a strong work ethic was needed to put together a convincing victory, but it also allowed for the team to get some systems down and some confidence up.

1-0 Canes
The Junior Hurricanes scored first as they were buzzing right from the start. Linda Essery has a nose for the net and during tryouts she scored an astounding four goals the first day and seven overall for the three-day showcase. On the first goal, she did what she does best. Mitchell Glabicki took the puck through the neutral zone and got the puck deep, the massive Garrett Coley bulldogged his way past the defender for the rebound and slid it out to the slot where Bradley Ingersoll took a swipe and redirected to Essery on the side of the net. A simple flip of the backhand and Essery scored the first goal the 2010 Quebec season.

On the bench, Associate Head Coach Mitch Hodgkiss jumped up and down laughing as he was hoping Essery would bring her touch and in the stands, proud papa and third-time Quebec attendee (both sons, Mark and Austin are alumni), could barely keep his video camera still as he cheered for the johnny-on-the-spot score.

2-0 Canes
Shortly after, Eric Hirschhaut nicely tipped a face-off through the Titans center’s leg on the right side of the goaltender and slammed a shot that squeaked through the legs and trickled to the goal line where Tyler Romel slid the puck easily across the goal line.

3-0 Canes
Then it was time for the Josh Wilkins show. The second-year player, along with linemates Garrett Coley and captain Ward Betts, had been dominant the entire game to this point and the puck began to go in. Mackenzie Lancaster kept the puck in at the point and Wilkins picked it up in the corner to the right of the goalie and dangled through a defender and roofed the puck on the short side, a beautiful goal scorer's goal.

4-1 Canes
The second period was more of the same. After the Titans scored a goal to make it 3-1, the Hurricanes went on the power play and this time both Lancaster and Coley got in on the action again. Coley took a pass on the wall and dished it to Lancaster at the point. A knee-high slap shot hit the goalie and landed at the feet of Wilkins, who slid it past the tender for his second of the game.

Canes win 5-1
Wilkins then continued his magic with one of the most beautiful goals in the nine years of the Junior Canes participation in Quebec. Coming down the left side, Wilkins twisted and turned past one defender after another and slipped out from the left corner on his backhand, taking his stick blade and circling the puck with his stick in full motion like he was going to pass to the point, Wilkins hammered a gorgeous backhander through the goaltender's pads for the hat trick. Amazing.

Hurricanes vs. Slovakia

After an hour-and-a-half break where the team went for their second helping of poutine and an introduction to the record number of parents along for the trip, the team headed back to the Val Belair rink to suit up for a much tougher game against the Slovakia AA bracket team.

It is always nice for the kids to get to play against European or Canadian teams as they do not get that chance very often, and playing a team of Slovakia’s caliber is a bonus. A nice surprise is that we managed to keep up with them very nicely and had them on the ropes for a couple of periods.

1-0 Canes
The Jr. Canes started the scoring as Bradley Ingersoll slid the puck around the boards behind the net where Hayden Winch, from Charleston, South Carolina, was waiting. Winch, a big forward playing up at the bantam level in SC, picked the puck up, muscled it around the left side and slammed it past the goalie against the post. With a hop in his step and a Chad LarRse celebration, Winch put the team on the scoreboard first.

The Canes kept the pace in the second period, but Slovakia did not stop. After a too many men call, the Slovakians managed to finally get one by goalie Matthew Forslund to tie the game halfway through the second.

2-1 Slovakia
Going into the third, the Junior Canes did not stop, but the Slovakians played a solid game and took advantage of a pass up the middle to score another goal that bounced around like plinko.
Slovakia wins 3-1
A few minutes later they added an insurance goal and the it looked like that was all the team had left in the gas tank.

It was a good first day, one very good win and one solid loss to a very good team. Up next is our off day. The Carnival is tops on the list as most folks are heading down to the Plains of Abraham to take in the sights, do some sliding, see the ice sculptures and eat some Maple Syrup dipped in snow and wrapped around a stick…yummmmmm.

After that we will head to the out door rink for some pond hockey and perhaps a glimpse at the next Alexandre Picard.

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