Entering the Western Hockey League’s leg of the Subway Super Series, Prince Albert Raiders forward Mark McNeill knew what was at stake.
Failing to produce offensively on a struggling Prince Albert Raiders squad that currently sets last in the WHL’s Eastern Conference, McNeill had an opportunity to showcase himself to Don Hay, head coach of Canada’s World Junior Championship entry.
With one shot to make an impression, the Edmonton, AB. native scored twice and added an assist skating alongside Brandon Wheat Kings teammates Mark Stone, the league’s leading scorer, and Michael Ferland, another top-10 scorer.
“It was a great experience getting the opportunity to play with some skilled players out there,” said McNeill, who has 12 goals and 27 points in 29 games this season. “It was a lot of fun. I thought I played pretty good.”
Good enough to earn a spot in Canada’s National Junior Team Sport Chek Selection Camp roster. In fact the entire trio, who combined for six points, earned the invite.
Hockey Canada might be banking on a little science out of the threesome.
“A little chemistry there,” McNeill admitted. “They’re two big bodies that move well out there and know how to win their battles in the corner. Since they play with each other all season they know where each other are out there. I just had to drive the middle and get the puck to them and things were happening out there.”
Defenseman Duncan Siemens, who was a surprise omission from Canada’s camp roster, wasn’t shocked to see the three have success.
“Seeing the three work together is no surprise,” Siemens said. “McNeill is a threat to score but he’s got very good vision and can find his teammates well, as well as Stone and Ferland is one of those guys that goes into those tough areas and in front of the net. They have all the elements there on that line and it was good to watch.”
“Yeah, we were feeding off each other well out there.”
Hockey Canada hopes they can do again, not only in camp, but at the World Junior Championship.
Aaron Vickers is the managing editor of Future Considerations and can be found on Twitter. For all the latest Future Considerations news and posts, follow FC’s Official Twitter Feed, on YouTube and on Facebook!