Monday, November 17, 2003
Locke gunning for World Junior spot
For Corey Locke, the 2002-03 season was one to remember.
The Ottawa 67's forward was the top scorer in the Canadian Hockey League with 151 points and was the highest scoring OHL player in 10 years. He was the OHL and CHL Player of the Year and guided the 67's to a berth in the OHL finals.
But the one thing that eluded the 19-year-old Newmarket native was a chance to represent his country at the World Junior Hockey Championships. He wants to change that this year and hopes to use the RE/MAX Canada-Russia Challenge to showcase his skills.
"It's a stepping-stone," Locke says. "Hopefully I'll get invited to the final camp. It's definitely a goal. This is just another learning experience."
Locke was held off the scoresheet in the first game in London on Monday, but the 63-goal scorer from a year ago wired a slapshot past Russian goaltender Konstantin Barulin that rang the crossbar.
"It was a lot of fun," Locke said. "You don't know what to expect - a Russian team you have never played before. I'm coming in here to have a great time. It's a good experience to play the Russian team."
Locke is tied for third among OHL scorers with 34 points in 19 games. He has maintained a torrid scoring pace despite losing linemates Matt Foy, who graduated to pro hockey in the Minnesota Wild system, and Scott Sheppard, who is suiting up for the London Knights.
"It's a lot different than last year," Locke says. "The chemistry that Foy and Sheppard and I had last year was pretty special. Not too many lines have that. We read so clearly off each other. It just seemed like we got all the breaks and all the bounces."
Locke has also been working on the defensive side of his game. It's something that coach Brian Kilrea has been working on with his talented forward since his rookie year in 2002.
"That's what Montreal stressed as well at camp," said Locke, who was a fourth round pick of the Canadiens at the NHL Entry Draft in June. "They want me to clean up defensively and become an all-around player ^ not just an offensive player. Maybe it's taken a little bit away from the scoring."
After a 7-1 win in the series opener, Locke will help Team OHL try for a sweep their two games against the Russian Selects tonight at the Sarnia Sports and Entertainment Centre (7:00 p.m. ET on Rogers Sportsnet).
"They'll only get better," Locke says. "We know that it's going to be a little harder test. Right now we're just working hard on the little things."