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Quebec: Canes' Rally Falls Just Short

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!

Helpful links: Tournament Schedule | Bracket

It wasn’t the end we were hoping for but it has been one heck of a trip so far and the kids never gave up. We brought the team to the hotel in the morning and for the first time ever we took them all to the Ste. Anne Du Beaupre Falls. This is one of the most beautiful places in Quebec and is a short 10-minute ride north of the city.

Paul Strand
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The parents caravanned the kids out to frozen waterfall and with minimal walking around the kids and parents witnessed a phenomenal site. The water still rushes over the falls and sprays water at the bottom that freezes into a huge mound at the foot of the falls. Below us we can see countless people climbing the mound and sliding down to the bottom. High above them from a suspension bridge we can see the vast St. Lawrence Seaway and the Ile D’Orleans in the distance. Amazing.

Hurricanes vs. Quebec Quest Ambassadors

We arrived at Le Colisee at the normal time and the team was prepared and ready to go. However the game did not start the way we wanted to. We did not have a chance to see the Quebec Quest team play prior, but it became very apparent that they had done some scouting on us. They were matching some lines from the start and their big top player, Maxime Poulin, was all over the place.

Our team was doing some unusual things from the start, allowing the Quebec team free skating in the neutral zone and easy entry into the defensive zone. They were getting some easy shots on net and pressure on each and every shift. Perhaps it was nerves or perhaps we were just tired, but before you knew it was 3-0 for the Quebec team.

However there was no quit in our team. Late in the second period and on the penalty kill, a beautiful pass to Josh Wilkins sent him in alone and he fired the puck wide of the net.  Undaunted, he kept going and 20 seconds later he received a second beautiful breakaway pass from Ward Betts and was sent in alone, where he made a beautiful move set the goalie flying to the left before tucking it in the back of the twine with 14 seconds left in the second.

In the third period we came out flying. The team would never quit and Garrett Coley made it 3-2 with a nice shot from his office in the slot. We kept the pressure on and then ran into penalty trouble. Already down a man, Wilkins dove for a lose puck at the goalie and was given a penalty for goaltender interference. The puck was loose and it was some good heart by Wilkins to try and jam it in.

The Quebec team then made some great plays on a very strong power play and increased their lead to 4-2. Again, the team showed no quit.  After the coaching staff moved Nicholas Skaluba up to forward, he clicked on his first shift with Eric Hirschhaut and Hayden Winch. In a two-on-one, Skaluba faked a shot and sent the puck easily over to Winch who fired to the back of the net to make it 4-3.

It was amazing to see the kids keep going despite being down three early. The heart of the southern kids was awesome to see. With the pressure on and a sure goal in sight to tie it up, the referee’s made a suspect call and awarded a goal that seemed to be under the  Hurricanes' goalie with two minutes left to give Quebec a 5-3 lead. Then, with our goalie pulled, they added an empty-net goal for a 6-3 final.

It was a good run for the team and it has been a wonderful trip so far. There were tears after the game, but the tournament is known for giving the kids an amazing experience.  They were quickly trading pins 10 minutes after the game.

Today we have some more hockey as we have two exhibition games against some very good teams. First up are the Colorado Thunderbirds and then we are on face to Semiahoo, a team from British Columbia. Tomorrow we will finish the games with a tilt against the Austrian team.

Great job Junior Canes.

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