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TORONTO – The pain in Michael Dal Colle’s voice was palpable.
“I thought I worked hard,” he said. “I thought I did well, but obviously they’re looking to go in another route.”
Dal Colle was one of four cuts made by Hockey Canada from their World Junior Championship selection camp roster on Sunday.
The Oshawa Generals winger was joined by Kingston Frontenacs winger Spencer Watson and two 17-year-olds – Cape Breton Screaming Eagles forward Pierre-Luc Dubois and Sarnia Sting defenceman Jakob Chychrun.
But for Dal Colle, the frustration was intensified. He was also cut last year.
“It’s disappointing,” he said. “You come in here wanting to make the team. But it’s part of hockey.”
Dal Colle came into camp well regarded as the fifth-overall draft pick of the New York Islanders in 2014.
But when it came down to making a decision about his status with Team Canada, coach Dave Lowry hinted Dal Colle’s efforts in the two exhibition games against the Canadian Interuniversity Sport all-stars weren’t good enough.
“There’s some guys that have really elevated their game and are worthy of an opportunity to continue on,” he said.
Canada followed up Saturday’s 5-4 shootout loss against the CIS with a 5-0 win.
Shawinigan Cataractes’ Anthony Beauvillier led the way with four points, including a hat trick, while Ottawa 67’s Travis Konecny had a goal and an assist and Blainville-Boisbriand’s Samuel Montembeault stopped 33 shots for the shutout.
The other goal was scored by Dubois. It wasn’t enough to make the team.
“Coming in I wanted to leave everything on the ice and have no regrets. That’s how I’m leaving here,” said Dubois, the youngest player at camp.
Like Dubois, Watson was saddened by his release. However, as the second-last pick in the 2014 draft, the 5-9, 170-pound winger was trying not to get too down on himself.
“I’ve had to outcome a lot of things in my career and my life,” Watson said. “It certainly helps a little bit. It’s not easy, but I’ll get over it.”
The four cuts leave Canada with three goaltenders, nine defencemen and 15 forwards – a number that includes the addition of Vancouver Canucks winger Jake Virtanen.
Virtanen, who was on a conditioning stint with the AHL’s Utica Comets, was loaned to Hockey Canada on Sunday for the tournament.
Hockey Canada is still awaiting word from the Canucks and St. Louis Blues on forward Jared McCann and Robby Fabbri, respectively. They’ll know by Dec. 19, the day of the NHL’s roster freeze.
The world junior team must be named by Christmas Day. The plan is for the final roster to be chosen prior to their last pre-tournament game on Dec. 23 against Sweden.
“Right now there are still guys worthy to be in the conversation,” Lowry said. “The one priority we have is we want to make sure we’re getting it right. We have some decisions that we think need more time. We’re prepared to do that.”
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