Buzzing The Net - Junior Hockey

Hockey Canada head scout Kevin Prendergast puts a lot of stock in how world junior hopefuls perform in the Subway Super Series games against Russia.

Team QMJHL opened the series Monday in Saint John with a 5-4 loss to the Russians, and Prendergast was on hand, along with a Canada head coach Dave Cameron and goalie coach Ron Tugnutt, to assess the assembled talent. It's not his first time seeing any of the players, but as Prendergast works toward his final list for Team Canada's selection camp, performances against a speedy edition of the Russian squad do carry weight.

"We've got to add players to our team for the camp in December and this is an opportunity for them to show us what they can do," Prendergast said. It can work "both ways. If they're exceptional they can put themselves right in the mix of coming to camp. If they're bad they can pull themselves right out of it. There's six games in this series and it's very important. You have three leagues and there's only 22 guys who are going to make the team at the end of the day, so we need guys to be very, very good on every shift."

It's only one game in the series, which continues Wednesday in Drummondville, but here are some guys who were and weren't very, very good on every shift of Game 1:

Helped his chances:

Michael Bournival, F, Shawinigan Cataractes (2010 Colorado Avalanche third-rounder)

He's not the most well-known name in the Q, and didn't even make my earlier lists of guys with a shot at wearing the Maple Leaf.

But Bournival, off to a hot start with 24 points in 17 games, turned in a solid all-around game, hustling both ways and scoring a goal. Playing on a line with a pair of 2011 NHL draft prospects in Jonathan Huberdeau and captain Sean Couturier, Bournival one-timed home a nice setup from Huberdeau to put QMJHL ahead 3-2 in the second period.

"He hasn't been on the radar a whole lot but everybody has the same opinion of him, he's just an excellent hockey player," Prendergast said. "He's not great at anything, but he's good at everything. I think we'll probably want to have a look and see if he's versatile. Can he play the wings as (well) as playing centre too? We think the centre situation is going to be taken, but he's got the kind of hockey sense and the grit that we think he has a chance to maybe be part of the camp."

Hurt their chances:

Brandon Gormley, D, Moncton Wildcats (2010 Phoenix Coyotes first-rounder), Olivier Roy, G, Acadie-Bathurst Titan (2009 Edmonton Oilers fifth-rounder)

Gormley, who wore an ‘A' and saw time quarterbacking the power play, was a minus-2. On Russia's first goal, he was burned to the inside by Los Angeles Kings prospect Maxim Kitsyn as he blew a tire.

"Tonight he struggled a bit honestly," said QMJHL coach Andre Tourigny. "He's better than that. I saw him last year in the playoffs during our (Rouyn-Noranda Huskies) series against them, he was really good and doesn't make (many) mistakes. Tonight it was tougher for him."

Roy, meanwhile, looked ordinary, allowing three goals on 12 shots in the first half of the game, a big part of the reason the QMJHL lost despite holding a 40-22 shots advantage. Roy certainly didn't get the most consistent defense in front of him, but he didn't take matters in his own hands and stand out either.

"As a goalie you need to make the save, especially in a tournament like that, you need to make the big saves all the time. It was probably not my best this year, but I have shown in the past two years, I had two great (Canada-Russia) games and I can compete against those guys," Roy said. "I think I might have a chance to get invited, I hope so and I'm working on it. I can't control it any more, the only thing I can control right now is going to Bathurst and play solid until I get an invitation."

Hockey Canada has probably seen enough of these two to keep their invitations safe, but neither had a game to include on a personal highlight reel.

Wait ‘til next year:

Nathan Beaulieu, D, Saint John Sea Dogs, Jonathan Huberdeau, F, Saint John Sea Dogs, Xavier Ouellet, Montreal Junior (all 2011 NHL draft eligible)

Beaulieu deflected home a point shot from Ouellet for the first QMJHL goal, and drew an assist on a short-handed goal later in the first period.

The pair of offensive defencemen are long shots for this year's Team Canada, but could be the type of players to earn an invite at least to get the camp experience under their belts, as Gormley did last season.

Huberdeau, meanwhile, made up what Tourigny said was his team's best line with Couturier and Bournival.

Writer Nathan White is a QMJHL correspondent for Buzzing the Net. You can reach him at n8bw7@yahoo.com or on Twitter @nbwhite.

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