Three Moose Jaw Warrior rookies suited up for Team Pacific and Team West during the 2013 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge over the holidays, getting an experience that they’ll never forget and that will help them heading into the second half of the WHL season.
Brayden Point helped Team Pacific to a fifth place finish, including a 4-1 record during the tournament. He finished with two goals and five points, but they missed out on the medal round due to three overtime and shootout wins that cost them three points.
“I thought I had a good tournament. It was good teams, good guys there and it was good to see what moving forward I need to improve in my game,” said Point after rejoining his Warrior teammates for the final game of their three-game Alberta road trip. “The result was tough, but it was a good experience.
“It was good to play there and it was good to see what the other countries have to offer and what our own country has to offer. It was a bit eye opening in how skilled the other guys are and it’s good for me looking forward to help myself.”
Point’s Warrior teammates, Miles Warkentine and Josh Uhrich were apart of Team West that ended the tournament in ninth place. They held Point and Pacific out the medal round by forcing them to overtime in the final round robin game, Point says he thought they would have helped him out, “I thought they might give us a break there, but it was a good game and we went 4-1 and overall it was a good tournament for us.”
For Warkentine and Uhrich, the wins might not have been there with Team West as they went 1-4, but they also had an experience of a life time during the tournament and they both had very eventful tournaments.
Warkentine finished with one goal, but was injured for a few games during the tournament and he says that slowed him down, “I thought I had a decent tournament. Team-wise it was a tough go, but I felt we got a lot better as the tournament went on, those first two games we were a bit tentative playing Sweden and Russia, but we got more comfortable.
“I felt like I was as good as most of the guys out there. Did what I did best, just working hard and chipping in with a couple when I can. Just working hard along the boards and winning battles down low is what I do, and I think I did that very well there.”
Uhrich found an offensive touch during the tournament, scoring twice, but also didn’t shy away from the physical play, as usual, and that resulted in a suspension. “I played a role similar to mine here (in Moose Jaw). I was gritty, I played hard in the corners, I battled, nothing different for me anyways,” explained Uhrich.
“I got a hit against Russia and they gave me a 10 (minute misconduct) and a two for a hit to the head, and then I got a hit from behind and they gave me a five (minute major), so if it would have just been the hit from behind I would have gotten suspended, but they had to suspend me for both my actions.”
Outside of the suspension, Uhrich felt he performed well and was able to play his game, “It was a great experience, just being able to play with some really high skill players and see all the talent in the 96 age group, it was awesome.
“I think it was huge being able to do my thing a little bit easier playing against kids my own age and I think that’s going to help me for this second half to kind of get my confidence up and hopefully play to the best of my game.”
All three players are back with the Warriors and are expected to have big roles with the team during the second half of the season as they make a push towards the playoffs.