BOZZO GETS HAT TRICK AS YOUNG NATIONALS DOUBLE UP GENERALS
MOOSE JAW, Sask. – Marco Bozzo scored a hat trick, all on the power play, to lead the Toronto Young Nationals to a 4-2 win over the host Moose Jaw Generals on Wednesday night at the 2014 TELUS Cup.
The win moves Toronto (2-1-0) into a three-way tie for first place at four points, but the Young Nationals sit atop the standings since they’re the lone team to record multiple wins.
Jeremy Pullara also scored for Toronto, which got all four of its goals with the man advantage.
Steven Harland collected three assists, while Izzy Benigno turned in a 24-save performance for the win.
Dawson Davidson had both goals for Moose Jaw (0-1-2), which lost for the first time after opening Canada’s National Midget Championship with back-to-back ties.
The Generals actually found the scoreboard first, as Davidson took a pretty backhand saucer pass from Caleb Riess just inside the Toronto blue-line before picking the top corner over Benigno’s glove at 2:51.
Bozzo tied it just under seven minutes later; James Guest snuck down to the face-off dot on the power play before finding Bozzo, who was all alone in the slot and had to do nothing more than redirect the pass past Moose Jaw netminder Grant Naherniak.
With less than three minutes to go in the first period Bozzo would strike again with the man advantage, deftly redirecting Harland’s point shot past Naherniak.
Moose Jaw came out with a little bit of momentum to start the second period, holding Toronto without a shot for more than nine minutes, but the Young Nationals’ power play would convert again.
A tic-tac-toe passing play from Kaelan O’Flynn to Mack Graham to Pullara ended with Pullara spinning in the slot and sneaking a backhand just inside the post for a two-goal lead at 12:59.
Davidson pulled the Generals to within one 2:31 into the third period, lifting a wrist shot through traffic and past Benigno for his third goal of the tournament, tops among defensemen.
Despite sustained pressure for most of the third period – Moose Jaw outshot Toronto 13-9 in the final frame, and 26-24 overall – the Generals couldn’t find the tying goal, and Bozzo clinched the win with just 15 seconds to go.
On another Young Nationals power play, Harland stripped the puck before the Generals penalty killer could clear it and fed Bozzo, who hammered home a one-timer for the first hat trick of this year’s TELUS Cup.
Toronto looks to make it three wins in a row when it takes on the Grenadiers de Châteauguay at 4 p.m. MT, while the Generals meet the Prince Albert Mintos in a must-win all-Saskatchewan showdown at 7:30 p.m. MT.