Canada East, MHLers, off to a good start at 2019 WJAC

Valley Trainer Mark Francisco, Summerside's Colby MacArthur and Zach Biggar, and Campbellton's GM/Head Coach Greg Leland at the 2019 WJAC (Photo via Greg Leland)


Team Canada East ended the weekend with a win and overtime loss after the first two days of action at the 2019 World Junior Hockey Championship in Dawson Creek, B.C.

Colby MacArthur and Zach Biggar, both of the Summerside Western Capitals, were named to the Canada East squad. Campbellton General Manager and Head Coach Greg Leland is an Assistant Coach for the team, while Mark Francisco of the Valley Wildcats is an Equipment Manager.

Canada East opened the tournament with a 3-2 overtime loss to Russia on Saturday afternoon. They opened the scoring on the powerplay in the 2nd period, but it took less than five and a half minutes for the Russians to even things up at 1-1. Russia took a 2-1 lead at 7:07 in the 3rd period. Canada East tied the game with 2:40 left in the final frame, with Biggar picking up an assist on the goal. A goaltender interference penalty in overtime sent the Russians to the powerplay, where they ended the game at 4:08 of the extra frame.

On Sunday, Canada East beat Canada West 5-1. It’s just the second time in ten all-time meetings that East has beaten West. Its other win came in the quarter-finals of the 2014 tournament in Kindersley, Saskatchewan. Canada East opened the scoring at just 2:55 of the first period, but Canada West evened up the game less than three minutes later. From there, East took control with another goal in the 1st, one in the 2nd, and two in the 3rd period.

Entering Monday’s game, Canada East sat atop the standings with five points. The squad has two more preliminary games left to go, taking on the United States on Wednesday and against the Czech Republic. Both games are scheduled for 10 p.m. Atlantic Time. The top four teams advance to the semifinals on Saturday, with the Bronze and Gold Medal games on Sunday.