Robert Matson (15) scores for the Connecticut Jr. Rangers' 8-3 win over Detroit on Thursday morning.
Thursday’s entire slate of games oscillated between the agonizingly close and the agonizingly not-so-close.
Team Brick Alberta kicked off the day with a 2-1 win over the pesky Boston Junior Bruins, who took a 1-0 lead in the first period before surrendering the tying goal less than three minutes later and the eventual game-winner early in the second period. The three games that followed were decided by five or more goals, as the undefeated Connecticut Jr. Rangers shook off the Detroit Red Wings with an 8-3 victory behind a four-point performance by Caiden Pellegrino and three-point outings from Robert Matson and Kaden McGregor.
Team Minnesota shut out Team Manitoba next, with Nolan Fitzhenry scoring four goals and adding an assist in the win, while the Toronto Bulldogs skated past the Saskatchewan Jr. Pats 7-0 to conclude the first half of Thursday’s schedule. Kingston Harris scored twice and added an assist for the Bulldogs, with Camryn Warren adding two goals, Carter Lewandowski notching a goal and two assists, and Jake Murray dishing out three helpers.
True to form, the second half of the day included a 5-0 win for Team Quebec over Team Pennsylvania, followed by a thrilling overtime game between the Western Selects and the Chicago Jr. Blackhawks. Five players scored for Team Quebec in its victory, with Davis Dufour chipping in a pair of assists and goaltender Maxime Psarras earning First State of the game recognition with a 16-save shutout.
Slippery defenseman Enzo Didomenicantonio netted the game-winning goal in overtime for the Western Selects, who saw their late 3-2 lead evaporate when Chicago’s Colin Varady tipped in a shot from the point with just 20 seconds left in regulation. After emotionally regrouping during the break between the third period and the extra session, Didomenicantonio ended the contest just over one minute into the extra frame. The win pushed the Western Selects to eight total team points, only one behind the Wigston Conference’s current third seed, the Toronto Bulldogs.
Toronto Pro Hockey extended its record to four wins and an overtime loss with a 5-2 win over the Boston Junior Bruins that was closer than the final score might indicate. The Junior Bruins buzzed the Toronto Pro Hockey net throughout the last minutes of regulation, forcing the Toronto defense to block at least half-a-dozen shots with expert precision. Tyler Lee scored a goal and added two assists to lead all skaters in scoring, and Maximus Mavrou scored twice in the win.
The B.C. Jr. Canucks scored once in the first, twice in the third, then held on for a 3-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings in a game that was highlighted by the goaltending of both squads. B.C.’s Asher Netherton finished the win with 20 saves, while Lilly MacLeish of Detroit stopped 18 of 21 shots.