HOCKEY: Eskimo shines in 2011 CJHL Prospects Games
By THOMAS PERRY The Daily Press
Abitibi Eskimos forward Jordan Delaurier made the most of his opportunity to suit up for Team East at the 2011 CJHL Prospects Games in Langley, B.C.
Team East lost both of its games to Team West, 4-3 on Saturday and 5-3 on Sunday, but the Iroquois Falls native scored his team’s second goal on Sunday.
“I got on late from my line change and one of our players took a shot on net and the rebound came out right in the slot for me and I went backhand and put it in,” Delaurier said.
And with plenty of scouts in the stands, Delaurier could not have picked a better time to find the back of the net.
“There was a World Junior ‘A’ Challenge going on at the same time as our prospects games, so it gave us a lot of exposure,” he said.
“A lot of people were able to watch us from the NHL, NCAA and all the colleges.”
With those kinds of eyes watching, it is only natural for the players to feel a little bit nervous.
“I tried not to think about it and just tried to play my game,” Delaurier said.
“That’s why they picked me to go there … to do my best and play my game.”
Soo Thunderbirds defenceman Fraser Turner was the only other Northern Ontario Junior ‘A’ Hockey League player selected to take part in the two game series.
“I didn’t know him before this tournament, but I met him and we started talking at the airport and we are good friends now,” Delaurier said.
The two will have an opportunity to renew their friendship, or rivalry, when the Thunderbirds travel to Iroquois Falls for a game against the Eskimos on Saturday night at the Jus Jordan Arena.
Game time is 7:30 p.m.
Being so far away from home for the 2011 CJHL Prospects Games didn’t bother Delaurier too much.
“I was used to it,” he said.
“In midget (Kapuskasing Flyers of the Great North Midget League) I left for a whole year, so it wasn’t a big deal to be away for a week.”
Delaurier’s parents didn’t get a chance to travel to B.C. to see him play in person, but they were able to watch the two games online.
The style of play Delaurier encountered was a little bit different than what he is used to in the NOHJHL.
“It’s faster, but with less hitting, out there,” he said.
“There were a lot of quick passes. It was good hockey, a bit faster than here.
“It was high-calibre hockey and the kids were all the best players from the CJHL of my age. It was good hockey.”
Playing in games like the 2011 CJHL Prospects Games can be a bit of a challenge in that most of the players are not used to playing together.
“It was hard at the start,” Delaurier said.
“But then we got used to it, because everyone knew what to do and our coach gave us a little system and we played it.
“We were all good players and we passsed it well.
Being selected to be part of Team East for the competition came out of the blue for Delaurier.
“I was pretty shocked I got picked,” he said.
Going forward, Delaurier hopes to use the experience he gained in B.C. to help his game.
“Hopefully the scouts out there that watched me in the prospects games will pick me for the World Junior ‘A’ Challenge next year, if I’m here again,” he said. “And hopefully that will give me confidence to play here again and have a good season and playoffs.”
After being drafted by the Ontario Hockey League Kitchener Rangers and attending their training camp this fall, there is a chance Delaurier might find himself playing in the OHL next year instead of in the NOJHL with the Eskimos.
“I am hoping to have another tryout in Kitchener and hopefully I will make the team,” he said. “I would like to stay there and move on.”
In order to be ready to meet that challenge, Delaurier figures he needs to develop his checking skills and become “more of a third-line guy.”
“I have to be able to finish my checks and play down low and use my body down low with the puck,” he said. “If I do that maybe I will have a chance to crack the lineup next year.”
In the meantime, Delaurier is making the most of the chance to play junior hockey in his home town.
“It’s great, you are living at home and you come to the rink, five minutes away, and get to play in front of your home-town fans,” he said.
“It’s a great feeling.”
In his first 19 games with the Eskimos this season, Delaurier has scored three goals, while adding 14 assists and 38 minutes in penalties.
In 50 games during the 2010-11 campaign, he scored six goals, while adding nine assists and 34 minutes in penalties.
“A lot of the 20 year olds really helped me out,” Delaurier said.
“I was young last year and I was always excited with the puck, but I had two 20-year-old linemates on the third line and they really helped me out.”
West Wins President’s Cup at CJHL Prospects Event
Sunday, November 13, 2011
LANGLEY, B.C. – Corey Petrash (East St. Paul, Man./Winnipeg Saints, MJHL) and Chase McMurphy (Chestermere, Alta./Calgary Mustangs, AJHL) finished with a goal and assist each as Team West took home the President’s Cup as CJHL Prospects Games champions thanks to a 5-3 victory over Team East on Sunday afternoon.
West won the two-game, total-goal series 9-6 after posting a 4-3 overtime win over East in Saturday’s first game.
Jordan Larson (Fort Frances, Ont./Fort Frances, SIJHL), Sean McGovern (Milton, Ont./Surrey, BCHL) and Justin Lund (Langham, Sask./Kindersley, SJHL) scored the other goals for West, which earned national bragging rights for the fourth time in seven years, and won back the President’s Cup it lost last year in Dauphin, Man.
Ryan Berlin (Edmonton, Alta./St. Albert, AJHL) added two assists, while Dawson MacAuley (Prince Albert, Sask./Yorkton, BCHL) (14 saves) and Matt Tomkins (Sherwood Park, Alta./Sherwood Park, AJHL) (11 saves) combined to turn aside 25 shots in the West goal.
Stephen Anderson (Morell, P.E.I./Summerside, MHL), Jordan Delaurier (Iroquois Falls, Ont./Abitibi, NOJHL) and Matt Buckles (Toronto, Ont./Toronto Lakeshore, OJHL) scored for East, which pulled even at 6-6 in the total-goal series midway through the second period before West scored three unanswered goals over the final 25 minutes.
Brock Crossthwaite (Kanata, Ont./Kanata, CCHL) (14 saves) and Simon Lemieux (Sept-Îles, Que./Longueuil, LHJAAAQ) (12 saves) stopped 26 of 31 shots in the East goal.