Wildcats' Colby Tower player of the game in Team Atlantic loss at World U-17s

Staff ~ The Cape Breton Post
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Puck luck wasn’t on the side of Team Atlantic in its opening game of the 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.

Atlantic was dealt a 5-1 loss to Team Ontario at Centre 200 on Monday in front of about 3,000 fans. The unofficial host team of the tournament couldn’t corral some rolling pucks or convert into a few yawning cages early on, and it hurt them in the end.

“We didn’t have too many bounces,” said Atlantic forward Colby Tower, who plays for the Valley Wildcats, named his team’s player of the game. He finished with an assist on Nicholas Welsh’s third-period tally.

“There were a few tweaks here and there, but we put a good effort in. If we regroup (Dec. 31) we’ll have a better game.”

Atlantic’s Blade Mann-Dixon, the Wildcats' top goalie, made 27 saves in the loss.

Penalties were an issue as well for the Atlantic squad. They were forced to kill off two, 5-on-3 Ontario power plays in the game, but it was a positive Atlantic head coach Doug Doull takes from the setback.

“I really believe it could have been a different game early on if some of those bounces went our way,” said Doull, a Glace Bay native. “We were obviously in the box a little too much. It’s real tough to kill two, long 5-on-3’s. The second call on one of them was tough to take, but that was one of the positives we could draw on. We were under siege, but we were pretty resilient.”

Ontario made good on their opportunities. Graham Knott scored a pair in the victory, opening the scoring in the first on a nice 2-on-1 feed and adding further insurance in the second. Dylan Strome finished with a goal and an assist and was named Ontario’s player of the game.

Travis Konecny and Hayden McCool in the third rounded out the Ontario scoring. They improved to 2-0 at the tournament.

“Going into it, we wanted to score first,” said Ontario head coach Roger Hunt. “Atlantic, being their first game and being at home, we wanted to keep the crowd out of it early. We were fortunate enough to do that and score.”

Ontario’s Troy Timpano made 22 stops in the win.

It doesn’t get any easier for Atlantic on Tuesday. They’ll challenge the unbeaten United States at 7 p.m. at Centre 200.

Full tournament information is available here.

For ongoing coverage of the tournament, check out the liveblog on the right-hand side of kingscountynews.ca or follow along on twitter using hashtag #WU172014

Organizations: Wildcats, Centre 200, Team Atlantic

Geographic location: Ontario, Colby Tower, Atlantic Glace Bay United States

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