Trail Smoke Eaters forward Kale Howarth scored twice including the winner to lift Team West to a 4-3 victory over Team East Wednesday evening in the Canadian Junior Hockey League Prospects Game at Ed Lumley Arena in Cornwall, Ont., in front of nearly 1,700 fans and over 150 NHL, NCAA, CIS and CHL scouts.
The Red Deer native’s game winner came at 2:47 of the third period when he redirected a shot between his legs and by Team East goaltender Nate McDonald for a 4-2 West lead.
Howarth was tops among BCHL players on the NHL Central Scouting midterm players to watch list last month, and was invited along with Ross Armour to the World Jr. A Challenge camp, before being named to the Top Prospects game.
“I think he turned some heads again,” said Smoke Eater coach and GM Cam Keith. “He’s going to get drafted into the NHL this year, that’s 100 per cent, I just don’t know which round, but at least in the top five (rounds).”
Team West opened the scoring at 16:31 of the first when Marcus Mitchell of the Salmon Arm Silverbacks finished off a feed from Whitecourt Wolverines Cody Laskosky and beat East starter Anand Oberoi.
Team East notched the equalizer just over a minute later, but the West went back in front in the middle session when Laskosky saucered a perfect pass over to Surrey Eagles’ Desi Burgart who roofed it over Oberoi.
Both sides made goaltender changes midway through the contest with Nate McDonald (Powassan Voodoos, NOJHL) and Ty Taylor (Vernon Vipers, BCHL) entering the game for the East and West respectively.
Team West continued to press the pace and were rewarded with their third tally of the night as Howarth stuffed a loose puck past McDonald after a left point shot from Jarrod Gourley at 14:01.
Team West dominated outshooting the East 23-8 in the period, but Team East got one back at 17:43 when Josh Cammalleri capitalized on a goal-mouth scramble.
After Howarth put West up 4-2 Team East moved back to within a goal midway through the final stanza but that was as close as they’d come. The East had a late man advantage opportunity and also pulled McDonald in an effort to knot the score and force overtime, but Taylor and the rest of West defenders stood tall to secure the win.
Team West held a big edge in shots on goal on the night at 46-22 overall.
CJHL player of the game laurels went to defencemen Matthew Kellenberger (Oakville Blades, CCHL) of Team East and Ian Mitchell of the Spruce Grove Saints, AJHL.