Team Canada is golden again - Macleans.ca
 

Team Canada is golden again

Canada demolishes Sweden to capture its fifth straight world junior title


 

Team Canada is golden again

There were no heart-stopping moments this time, or late game heroics. They weren’t needed. Team Canada dismantled the Swedes in the gold medal game of the world junior championships last night, winning 5-1 to take its fifth straight championship.

From the first minute, when defenceman P K Subban scored the opening goal, it was all Team Canada, which played a tough, albeit somewhat undisciplined game against a Swedish team that at times looked flat and wasn’t getting the lucky bounces. They were lucky to get out of the first period down by just one. “We knew we had to come out with our best game,” said Zach Boychuk. Getting that first goal “was huge,” he added.

Angelo Esposito scored a brilliant goal in the second, after wrestling the puck out of the corner, moving in front of the net and putting the puck over goaltender Jacob Markstrom’s shoulder. Despite a string of penalties late in the second, a rash of untimely broken sticks, Canada hung on to a two goal lead, and never let it go. “This was our best game tonight,” said coach Pat Quinn. “We played with skill.”

It was also one of Canada’s best defensive games.

Markstrom, normally Sweden’s star goalie, wasn’t doing his teammates any favours. He looked rattled, after being sent flying twice by Canadian players in the first two periods. After the second hit, he took a run (all the way to the red line) at Stefan Della Rovere, drawing a bad penalty and denying his team what could have been a game-changing two man-advantage. He was loudly booed every time he touched the puck.

He played better than the score would indicate. Two of the final goals were empty netters. But the real star was at the other end of the ice, Canadian goalie Justin Tokarski. “He was good from the start. He made those early saves,” said Quinn.

Team Canada’s John Tavares was named the tournament’s MVP.


 

Team Canada is golden again

  1. But did anyone get up and leave in front of Feschuk before the end?

    • I was watching, dammit, but no one made a move. in any event, i’ve discovered a new pet peeve. within seconds of the Team Canada victory, the ice was flooded with team officials – 25 guys in suits. It looked like a hockey game had been interrupted by the cast of mad men. I’m sure each and every one of them deserved their gold medal for coaching or training or making fruit smoothies, but in future the IIHF should really keep them on the bench til after the players have had a moment or two.

      Best moment: When PK Subban hugged that Mountie during the post-game celebration. Credit to the men in red for exercising uncharacteristic restraint and not using their Tasers.

      Also: I couldn’t actually hear Markstrom’s bellyaching from where I was sitting, but if I had I’d finally know what’s Swedish for “Wah wah waaaaaaah.”

  2. Tokarski picked the most important game to come up with his best game.

  3. After the great excitement of the games against the Americans and Russians this was a bit of a let down in terms of competativeness. Even when it was only 1 and 2-0 I don’t think Canada was threatened.

    In fact with the 2nd intermission and all the long penalty breaks I was able to catch a fair bit of the new Being Erica show on CBC. Wasn’t bad.

  4. Awesome game. I was worried about Tokarski, but he was nothing short of spectacular, and only got better as the game went on. On some of those Swedish PPs in the second, I don’t know how he kept it out.

    Remember all the whining a decade ago when we lost the 1998 Olympics? “What’s wrong with Canadian Hockey?”

    Answer: NOTHING

    • Can’t help but wonder if we’d be looking at our 5th straight though had we managed to even pull out the win that year against the Czech’s. There’s little doubt that disaster wasn’t a major wake up call; and we are witnessing the results today.

      2010 will be a very exciting year for hockey in this country! Keep in mind, next years Juniors are in Sask!

      • Yes, Pierre McGuire was talking about that. Not about the loss to the Czech’s in ’98 specifically, but about the revolution in hockey coaching in this country that has affected players of all ages. (He didn’t use the term ‘revolution’ , but he alluded to a major overhaul in coaching at the amateur level.)

        It used to be said – whenever we won – that the Canadians used their heart and determination to overcome the skill and speed and conditioning of the Europeans. And that was exactly true. Well, it can no longer be said that the Europeans have an advantage over us in speed and skill and conditioning. We are now churning out hockey players that are every bit as fast and as skilled as the Europeans, without, it appears, losing any of our heart and determination. I don’t think there was anyone in the tournament who could skate faster than P.K. Sabban, or with better overall offensive skills than Taveres, Hodgson and Eberle.

        I would go further than attributing it to only the Olympic loss in 1998. Our World Cup loss to the USA in 1996 really started the navel-gazing. Then, in 1998, we saw our five year gold medal streak at the Juniors snapped, followed closely by the Olympic loss to the Czechs. The following year, we lost the Junior gold medal match in OT in Winnipeg to a Russian team that was clearly faster and more skilled than we were.

        In other words, we got a whole series of wakeup calls, and it’s good to see that we responded to them. In fact, we’ve responded to them better than I ever would have dared dream ten years ago.