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Top prospect Clague keys WHL win vs. Russia

by Staff

Kale Clague, a top prospect for the 2016 NHL Draft, opened the scoring for the Western Hockey League in a 7-3 defeat of Russia on Monday in the opening game of the 2015 CHL Canada-Russia Series at Prospera Place in Kelowna, British Columbia.

Clague, a 5-foot-11, 177-pound left-shot defenseman who plays for the Brandon Wheat Kings, earned an A rating from NHL Central Scouting in its September players to watch list.

Left wing Collin Shirley, another 2016 draft prospect, had one goal and three assists for the WHL. Goaltender Zachary Sawchenko, a B player to watch, stopped all nine shots he faced in playing the first half of the game. Goaltender Carter Hart, also a B-rated player, stopped six of nine shots.

Shirley, who plays for the Kamloops Blazers, set up Clague for a point shot 2:16 into the first period that got past Russia goalie Maxim Tretyak to give the WHL a 1-0 lead.

Then at 14:35 of the first, Shirley had an assist on a goal by Noah Juulsen (Montreal Canadiens) that made it 2-0. He then set up a goal by linemate Brayden Point (Tampa Bay Lightning) at 6:39 of the second to make it 3-0.

Shirley, who has 10 goals in 16 games with Kamloops, scored at 11:40 of the second to give the WHL a 5-0 lead. He's one of two WHL players to have a four-point game in a Canada-Russia series game, joining Brodie Dupont in 2006.

Point had a goal and two assists. Connor Bleackley (Colorado Avalanche), Jansen Harkins (Winnipeg Jets) and Dysin Mayo (Arizona Coyotes) also scored for the WHL.

Kirill Tsulygin and Artur Lauta, prospects for the 2016 draft, scored for Russia, as did Radel Fazleev (Philadelphia Flyers), who plays in the WHL for the Calgary Hitmen.

All players participating in the games are eligible to play in the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship, which starts Dec. 26 in Helsinki, Finland.

The WHL and Russia will play Game 2 of the Canada-Russia Series on Tuesday in Kamloops, British Columbia.

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