Ellis Takes Eight
Still Time to Bounce Back
By: Kevin Kinghorn
With two minutes left in an 8-1 rout, Team Red goaltender Julien Ellis wandered out of his crease between whistles and checked the scoreboard.
Sure enough, there it was: eight goals on 28 shots.
In his first intersquad game of Team Canada's selection camp, the Canuck draft pick slogged through 45 minutes of bad bounces, bad luck, and bad defense.
"It's pretty hard to take," said Ellis, who bore the brunt of a sketchy showing by the red sweaters in front of him. "Tomorrow I have another chance to show what I'm able to do. So I'm going to bounce back."
It's the kind of response the Canucks hoped to get from the top goaltender in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League - a scrappy kid they picked up in the sixth round of the 2004 draft.
Ellis set out Wednesday night to prove he could be the backbone of Canada's junior team, but instead, showed he still has work to do.
Saskatoon Blade Devin Setoguchi banked a puck off Ellis's pad from a sharp angle 2:30 into the scrimmage for a 1-0 Team White lead.
Jonathan Toews from North Dakota and Logan Stephenson from Tri-Cities made it 3-0 by the end of the first with sneaky pucks that crawled up, over, and through every conceivable crack.
"I think I let in two bad goals, but I was unlucky sometimes too," said Ellis. ""I was confident before the game and I can't explain what happened. I just had some bad luck and it snowballed."
Team Red made a brief appearance in the second when Peterborough's Steve Downie poked a rebound under Carey Price 2:51 in - though that sign of life fizzled just as quickly.
Bad giveaways and worse recoveries by the red side compounded Ellis's troubles.
After giving up three goals on eight first-period shots, the Shawinigan keeper was left alone to fend off 20 more pucks through the final 30 minutes.
Ellis tracked down a quick tip by Prince Albert forward Kyle Chipchura in the second, and got a pad down on a breakaway by London Knight David Bolland to start the third, but the saves weren't enough to dull the glare from the big number eight on the score clock.
Toews got another, Erie Otter Ryan O'Marra and Bolland each had added singles, and Michigan's Andrew Cogliano scored twice over the final two frames.
"If tomorrow I bounce back really, really good, I think I have a chance to make the team," said a stoic Ellis from the centre of a very bright post-game mob.
Head coach Brent Sutter won't make any final roster decisions until Friday, which gives Ellis a chance to rebound in an exhibition game with the UBC Thunderbirds Thursday night.
"We all know he's a good goalie," said Sutter. "He's had an outstanding year and was the best goalie at fall camp out of the four guys that were there."
"I'm sure it's frustrating for him to let that amount of goals in - and there were a few goals that you need your goalie to stop - but we'll see how he responds tomorrow."
Stan Smyl, director of player development for the Canucks, and chief amateur scout Ron Delorme watched Wednesday's scrimmage from lower bowl.
"The first two goals were just bad luck," said Smyl. "One was out of the corner and one went off his back and in. But it's a short week for them, they don't have a lot of time which in unfortunate."