Here’s a bit of where Junior Team Canada was on Wednesday night in Edmonton: more scribbling than Guernica.
Luckily for the Canadians, for this knockout game appetizer, Switzerland were up against them. They were therefore able to get away without too many pitfalls with a 6-3 win that propelled them to the semi-finals of the world juniors.
Not that the national team put on an ugly performance, just that they seemed a little casual in their zone at times, as if aware of their superiority which, in the end, is very human.
Some players offered an embellished version of their performance, others were more critical.
Maybe we took them a bit lightlyadmitted, candidly, Nathan Gaucher.
The Canadians scored the first goal of the game after 67 seconds of play. From the start, they created excesses, scoring opportunities, it smelled of massacre. A minute later, following a turnover from Will Cuylle, Switzerland brought everyone back to the same height.
Dave Cameron’s men then took off with three goals in a row and quickly slowed down when the Helvetians changed goalkeepers. In the end, after this change, the Swiss scored one more goal than Canada if we exclude the one scored in an empty net.
A turnover from Donovan Sebrango deep in his territory also led to Attilio Biasca’s second goal of the game, which then tightened the score to 5-3.
A little hesitant at the start of the third period, the Canadians took more than seven minutes before getting a shot on goal just when the game was more fiercely contested. Small alarm signals here and there, nothing more.
We may have thought that the defense was going to be done on its own. Since the start of the tournament, it starts with defense for us. That’s what brings us scoring chances, so we’ll have to focus on that againsaid Gaucher, who scored his first goal of the tournament on Wednesday.
Today, I think it was a setback. We noticed that we will not be given a match. It won’t be easy. Gonna have to work for it, and it was the right time to play a game like thatadded Elliot Desnoyers.
The good time insofar as it happened against an opponent less tough than what awaits the maple leaf for the continuation of the things. As long as there is a slight setback compared to the previous match against Finland, the last of the preliminary round, when the team had been particularly tight, it was better for it to happen there than in the final.
Head coach Cameron didn’t really put himself in the lead with these few coverage errors and other bad decisions in the defensive zone.
You are not going to go through a tournament thinking that everything will turn out the way you want. […] You can still play a very good game and lose. We don’t worry about that. We only care about how we play. In the end, did we fight on our own or did we give each other the best chance to winlaunched the coach.
A heavy loss
The most worrying for Canada lies more in what they lost in this match than in their little wanderings of concentration.
Center Ridly Greig, spearhead of the formation since the start of the tournament, had to leave the match in the first period after absorbing a solid contact from Vincent Despont. The Senators prospect appeared to hurt his left arm or shoulder somewhere, although in the midst of the tournament with Team Canada, even Sherlock Holmes would be hard-pressed to get more details.
Desnoyers replaced him in the center of Joshua Roy and William Dufour, two players
super attackers who see the game wellaccording to him, and received congratulations from Cameron after the game.
In the event of a serious injury, it would be a heavy loss for the Canadians. Greig was used in all sauces, either to counter the best opposing line, to generate attack or to sell out penalties.
The youngster collected six points in four games and dust and quickly proved to be one of the mainstays of the formation.
Cameron admittedly bragged about the depth of his team; Gaucher assured that they had the resources to
fill the hole left by his possible absence. The good performance of Logan Stankoven against the Swiss, author of two goals and an assist, gave weight to these remarks. We’ll find out soon enough as this unequal tournament approaches its very final phase.
Canada has so far outplayed the competition. Even without Greig, there’s no obvious reason to predict this will stop. As Cameron said, the team is, in a way, his own worst enemy.