We were expecting a close first game featuring Junior Team Canada and that’s not exactly what we got against Finland on Thursday night. The Canadian team dominated most of the game to win 4-1 and thus secure first place in Group A.
Canada’s players and coaches had mentioned over the past few days how much this game would serve as a barometer as they approach the medal round. The least we can say is that if the national team play as they did yesterday for the rest of the tournament, they will be hard to beat.
From the first moments of the meeting, the team led by André Tourigny imposed its speed and its sustained forward failure forcing the Finns to adopt the same strategy as Germany, the Slovaks and the Swiss before them: to fall back and to withdraw. defend.
“It was superb,” Tourigny said after the game. The guys were doing the cheat before and it was awesome. We applied a lot of pressure and our defenders were involved. The energy was phenomenal, I am very proud of the guys since we were able to maintain this pressure throughout the game. ”
“It was a battle for first place. We knew it would be a big game and we were nuts when we arrived on the ice. I’m really happy with the start we got, I think the first half was our best in the whole tournament so far. We must continue to build on it, ”added forward Dylan Cozens.
The Canadian coach has been saying since the start of the selection camp that the strength of his team is depth both in attack and defense. Thursday is what allowed his team to be so relentless in forecheck for 60 minutes.
“Sometimes I sound like a rambler, but I’ve been saying it from the start. The depth of our team both in defense and in attack allows us to keep up with the pressure. When you do 45 or 50 second presences, you come tired and you don’t have the same focus on the details. The depth of our team allows us to play with four lines. ”
Pressure in third
In the eyes of the manager, however, his team somewhat put aside its forward failure in the third period which allowed the Finns to regain some of the hair of the animal.
Trailing 3-0, Finland put a little more pressure than they had in the first two-thirds on Canada, scoring their first goal of the game which then narrowed the gap to two goals.
Cozens, who also scored his first goal in the first period, however closed the books in an empty net. Dylan Holloway and Peyton Krebs also scored for the Canadian team.
This push in third was nothing, however, to cheer Finnish manager Antti Pennanen.
“We weren’t ready and it was a tough meeting for us,” he admitted. They won all the battles. We adjusted the shot a bit in third, but it was not enough. ”
Facing the Czechs
The victory over the Finns is all the more important given that Canada secured first place in Group A and a clash against Czech Republic, fourth in Group B, in the quarter-finals on Saturday.
The Czechs finished the preliminary round with two wins and two losses but one of their two wins came against the Russians.
“Year after year, the Czechs cause surprises. They are difficult to play and fight with great pride. They will close the neutral zone, will want to prevent us from picking up speed and will wait for five of us in their enclave. It will be difficult to penetrate there and we will have to be able to get the returns in front of the net and win our battles there. It’s going to be a trench battle, ”Tourigny said.
All is not rosy for ECJ, however, who lost the services of striker Alex Newhook in the first period. The latter was hit hard by defender Eemil Viro entering the zone and it is the left shoulder that seems to have taken most of the shock. The Boston College Eagles color-bearer returned for a presence early in the second half but quickly left for the locker room and was never seen again. Hockey Canada later confirmed that the Colorado Avalanche prospect had an upper-body injury, and after the game André Tourigny was unable to provide an update on his health.