Canada East awaits semifinal opponent

Jason Simmonds
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SUMMERSIDE - Canada East will be well rested for its semifinal game at the 2009 World Junior 'A' Hockey Challenge on Friday night.
Canada East has been idle since completing round-robin play Monday night at the six-team tournament for players 19 and under. Canada East won both its games to finish first in Pool 'B' and avoid today's quarter-finals.

SUMMERSIDE - Canada East will be well rested for its semifinal game at the 2009 World Junior 'A' Hockey Challenge on Friday night.
Canada East has been idle since completing round-robin play Monday night at the six-team tournament for players 19 and under. Canada East won both its games to finish first in Pool 'B' and avoid today's quarter-finals.
"We have some sick guys, so it's definitely a good thing that we have a few days off here," said Canada East defenceman Scott Dawson of Kanata, Ont. "It's good to get a couple of days of extra practices in, and figure out what we're going to do against the team we play in the semifinals."
That will be the winner of tonight's Canada West and Belarus game.
Canada East opened the round robin with a thrilling 5-4 come-from-behind shoot-out victory over the defending champions from the United States on Sunday night.
Canada East was outshot 27-8 and trailed 4-1 after two periods, before rallying to tie the game in the third period and force overtime. Canada East also beat Belarus 7-5.
"We're very confident, especially coming off that win against the Americans," said Dawson. "We didn't get the chance to beat them last year, so it feels good.
"We definitely have a good mood going on in the room now."
The United States dashed Canada East's gold-medal hopes with a 5-1 semifinal win a year ago in Camrose, Alta. That loss still stings for Dawson as Canada East had to settle for a bronze medal.
"I don't want to settle for anything less than that gold," said six-foot-two, 206-pound Dawson, who has nine points and 18 penalty minutes in 16 games with the Nepean Raiders of the Central Junior 'A' Hockey League. "I don't want another bronze medal or a silver medal; I want a gold medal.
"Whatever team we play in the semifinal game, we're going to give it our best and try to come out with a victory."

Compare teams?
So, how would Dawson compare this year's Canada East team to the 2008 edition?
"I think we have more depth this year," he answered. "Up front, we have a bit more size and I think that will help in the long run when it comes to wearing out (opponents) defence in their end and the defensive zone, and just banging some bodies.
"I think we're a bit faster than last year."
Defenceman David Pratt and forward Jacob Laliberte are the other returnees.
"We want to come back and have no regrets this year, give it our all and that's what we try to tell our players and get them motivated that way too," said Dawson. "They don't want to have any regrets either."

jpsports@journalpioneer.com

Organizations: Hockey League

Geographic location: Canada East, Belarus, SUMMERSIDE United States Kanata Canada West Camrose

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