Team East walked away with the CJHL President’s Cup on Tuesday night after defeating Team West 3-1 in front of a capacity crowd of over 1,500 at South Surrey Arena.
Scouts and representatives from all 30 NHL teams were on hand for the 11th annual CJHL prospects game, including names like Craig MacTavish, and Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff. The legendary Mark Donnelly kicked off the event with the national anthem in his signature style, by skating around the rink while singing.
The goaltenders for Team East were truly the story of the event, stopping a combined 43 shots. As a result, Colton Point of the Carleton Place Canadians (CCHL) and Michael Botiz of the Oakville Blades (OJHL) were both named co-MVPs.
Team East opened the scoring at 10:14 of the first period when Noah Jordan of the St. Michael’s Buzzers (OJHL) scored an unassisted goal. Team West would tie it up shortly after with a goal of their own from Colin Grannery of the Merritt Centennials. Surrey Eagles’ own Jeffrey Stewart tallied an assist on the play in front of the hometown crowd, which turned out to be Team West’s only goal of the game.
The goaltenders switched out at the halfway point, as Bo Didur of the Langley Rivermen entered the game for Team West, replacing Matt Murray of the Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL).
Shortly after the switch, Team East scored two goals only 58 seconds apart. Ben Sokay of the Wellington Dukes (OJHL) and Jack Jeffers of the Orangeville Flyers (OJHL) both scored, with Sokay’s goal eventually holding up as the winner.
After a scoreless third period, the shots ended up favouring Team West by a count of 44-19. Botiz solidified himself as the co-MVP winner by making a fantastic breakaway save on Team West’s Brandon Biro, who plays for the Spruce Grove Saints. Even former Vancouver Canucks players and honourary coaches Darcy Rota (Team East) and Orland Kurtenbach (Team West) were thoroughly impressed with the goaltending efforts.
Team West now only has a one-game lead over Team East in the all time CJHL prospects game standings, winning 6 times out of the 11 times that the event has taken place.
Check out a full photo gallery from the event below.