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World U-17 Challenge: Newfoundlanders to square off against each other in northern B.C.

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Alex Newhook, Dawson Mercer and Canada Black face Brett Budgell and Canada Red in quarter-final game tonight

All three Newfoundlanders competing in the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge will be on the ice at the same time in Dawson Creek, B.C., tonight.

Canada Black, whose roster includes forwards Alex Newhook of St. John’s and Dawson Mercer of Bay Roberts, takes on Canada Red, with forward Brett Budgell of Paradise in the lineup, in a quarter-final game (11:30 p.m. NT).

The U17 Challenge features eight teams, including three from Canada (Black, Red and White) along with the United States, Russia, Czech Republic, Sweden and Finland.

The Black team finished with a 2-1 record in the preliminary round, with its only loss coming Tuesday night when it was edged 5-4 by the United States.

Newhook and Mercer both scored in that game. That gives Newhook four points (a goal, three assists) in three games and leaves him tied for second among skaters on all three Canadian entries. Mercer has two points, both coming Tuesday — he also picked up a helper on Newhook’s goal.

Budgell has been held off the scoresheet so far for the Canada Red team, which went 1-2 in preliminary play, including a 5-3 setback to unbeaten Russia Tuesday night in Fort St. John, B.C., the other host city for the tourney.

Newhook normally skates for the Victoria Grizzlies of the British Columbia Hockey League, and is committed to attending Boston College. Mercer is a rookie Drummondville of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League after being selected eighth overall by the Voltigeurs in the 2017 QMJHL draft. Budgell is with the Chicago Steel of the United States Hockey League, best known as a circuit that produces players for NCAA programs.

One of the Black team’s assistant coaches is Travis Crickard of St. John’s, who is an assistant coach for the Western Hockey League’s Kelowna Rockets.


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