For Anthony Duclair, Frederik Gauthier and Zach Fucale, three Montreal-area natives who played Tuesday night at the Ed Meagher arena, their goal is to make Team Canada’s National Junior (U20) team.
All of them want to be able to put on the Canada jersey, and it is a tournament in Canada as well. The fact that the three of them would have the opportunity to do it at home is something they have thought about as well.
“It’s going to be my last year of Junior and obviously I want to make this team,” Duclair said. “It’s in Montreal, my hometown so I’m obviously motivated to make this team in December.”
“Just being in Canada is special, but to have it in Montreal is even more of a boost.”
“For sure it’s motivation,” said defenceman Sam Morin, who is from the Quebec City area. “My family is here, but everyone wants to make Team Canada. It’s an honour to be here, I’m just trying to work hard and play well.”
Duclair and Gauthier each had a goal and an assist in Canada’s 6-2 win over the Czech Republic on Tuesday night at Concordia University’s Ed Meagher arena.
Fucale, who besides being from nearby Rosemere is also a Montreal Canadiens prospect, didn’t allow a goal through his 30 minutes of work. Fucale made nine saves and some of them were pretty spectacular.
Duclair is a third round pick of the New York Rangers in 2013. He is 19 and in his last year of eligibility for the team. He played on a line with first round draft picks Sam Reinhart and Nick Ritchie and didn’t look out of place.
“My game is speed and skill and playing with guys like Reinhart and Ritchie makes my job a lot easier,” said Duclair.
He is in tough to make the team as Canada has no shortage of offensive-minded players. Among players sitting in the stands on Monday were Connor McDavid and Michael Dal Colle, two scorers who are almost assured of making the team.
For Gauthier, a first round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2013, he has a different role. Playing on the fourth line, he is battling for the grinding role on the team. He also proved he can drive some offence as his two-point night shows. He played with Nick Paul and Greg Chase.
“Everybody here is good,” said Sam Morin, a first round pick of the Philadelphia Flyers in 2013 who has family in Montreal. “It’s so easy on the ice. It’s easy to play with these players.”
Team Canada is also playing games in Sherbrooke and will return to the Ed Meagher arena for their final game on Friday at noon against the Czech Republic.