Cole Shepard, #9 for the Vees, carries the puck into Alberni territory, ltrying to line up a pass. Brennan Phillips/Western News

Cole Shepard, #9 for the Vees, carries the puck into Alberni territory, ltrying to line up a pass. Brennan Phillips/Western News

Penticton Vees forward earns assist in pre-World Under-17 Hockey Challenge game

Penticton player suited up for Team Canada Red in an exhibition game against the U.S.

Penticton Vees forward Cole Shepard had an assist enroute to a Team Canada Red 5-2 win over the U.S. in a pre-World Under-17 Hockey Challenge game on Thursday.

Shepard, 16, earned the assist in the second period off Canada’s fourth goal of the game.

Related: Vees player named to U-17 Team Canada

Matthew Maggio (Tecumseh, Ont./Ottawa, OHL) scored twice in a five-goal second period, helping Canada Red pull away in the middle frame.

Payton Mount (Victoria, B.C./Seattle, WHL), Jacob Perreault (Hindsale, Ill./Sarnia, OHL) and Jake Murray (Oakville, Ont./Kingston, OHL) also found the back of the net for the Canadians, who struck for their first four goals in a span of just over eight minutes to turn a scoreless game into a sizable lead.

“Ever since we got here all the guys clicked right away. We knew the Americans know each other well and they’re going to have some team chemistry. For us, just coming together three days ago and hardly knowing each other, I think the key was playing fast and trying to outwork them as much as we can. I think we did a pretty good job of that today,” said Maggio.

Eamon Powell and Daniyal Dzhaniyev had the goals for the Americans, who begin defence of their gold medal Sunday against the Czech Republic at Harbour Station in Saint John (noon AT).

Red is the first Canadian team to see action, taking on Russia in its Group B opener Saturday night at the qplex in Quispamsis (7:30 p.m. AT).

Shepard is one of two players (Ryan Halliwell/Langley) from the BCHL representing Canada, playing on either Team Black, Red, or White. He is the fifth Vees player to have the honour to play for Canada in this tournament, which runs until Nov. 10. Teams from Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, Sweden, Canada and the U.S. will compete for a gold medal.

More than 1,700 NHL draft picks have suited up in the tournament since the inception of the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in 1986.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.

Kristi Patton | Editor

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