Canucks Army Postgame: Canada vs Switzerland IIHF U-20

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(I agree)

The Canadians entered today’s contest on less than a days rest, hoping to put some distance between themselves and the have nots of Group A. Meanwhile the Suisse were hoping to hold the fort, as the presumptive underdog in today’s proceedings.

While the prospect of a loss seemed unfathomable to the Canadians, the consequences would have proven dire as it could have very well put them within striking distance of relegation. For the Suisse, anything short of getting this game to overtime would have proven disastrous for their prospects of making the quarterfinals.

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The stakes were high and neither team could afford to take this opportunity for granted. This rings especially true for the Canadians, who have been caught off guard on more than one occasion historically by the upstart Suisse. 

This trend continued, with the Suisse opening the scoring two minutes in, on a chippy power play goal. Switzerland then dismissed any possibility that this might be a one-off, potting the second of the game just over ten minutes later. The Suisse had no intention of backing down to the favourite Canadians and sent that home with an exclamation mark early.

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Perhaps these early goals were a wake-up call for the Canadians, who really found their game as the first came to a close. The pace picked up, as marked by the Canadians ability to generate pressure in the offensive zone. There were a number of hits by Brendan Perlini, Travis Konecny and Joe Hicketts which helped to set the pace and the rest followed.

Canada would cut the lead in half, with the period nearing a close, as Arizona Coyotes prospect, Dylan Strome, launched a poor angle shot for a goal past the Suisse netminder. It was the third goal of the tournament for Strome, who now has a goal in every game so far.

The Canadians continued pressing in the second, with sustained offensive zone time and a succession of power plays to follow. Canucks prospect, Jake Virtanen, had struggled to make a positive mark on the game to this point, but he responded well to the increased ice time and responsibility towards the end of the second, getting in on a number of chances and creating a few of his own. A trend which carried into the third.

Just past the midway mark of the frame, the Canadians knotted the game at deuces on a Hicketts blast from the point. Whether in atonement for his costly mistake in their opening match or otherwise, Hicketts played his best game of the tournament and was rewarded accordingly with the complimentary shaving kit and trophy as the game closed. 

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Canada continued pressing in the third and it would be fair to remark that the Suisse were just holding on for dear life. The Canadian line of Julien Gauthier, Anthony Beauvillier and Mathew Barzal were especially potent, driving much of the Canadian offence at 5-on-5, without anything to show for their troubles. 

Overtime couldn’t solve this one either, so it went to a shootout. Of course, this summoned memories of the Suisse team in the 2010 Olympics, who took the Canadians to a shootout on the back of Jonas Hiller. Alas, the Canadians finished business, defeating Switzerland 2-0 in the shootout.

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  • RedMan

    Would you be able to start putting the final score in the title, or if not the title, at least in the opening paragraph? I would like to make Canucks Army my first stop for all World Junior related news, but I don’t really want to stay in suspense re:the game outcome until I’m finished the recap.

    Thanks!

  • BuffaloBillsOfHockey

    Jake V looked very good in the 3rd period! He had some great scoring chances up close, but the puck seemed to bounce funny every time. His drag through the Swiss Dmans sakes was sweet.

    Problem with how he played in the NHL vs Junior, is you could see he wants to wreck guys out there, but the refs have a lot!!! Less tolerance for that in Intl play. He also seemed to take extra short shifs, by design… Used to shorter shifts w the Canucks???

    Team Canada hasn’t done well in Europe, so let’s hope this team can get better as the Tourney goes on.

  • BuffaloBillsOfHockey

    The only part of this article that I can’t reconcile is why Jake Virtanen’s older brother is trashing JD’s writing. Oh, wait! This is for a couple of summers ago when all the top brass of Canucks Army were saying that “Jake Virtanen’s is good, so don’t draft him”. Doesn’t Stef realize that this is Canucks ARMY? We don’t tolerate insubordinarion around here. JD was just following the orders of General Jessop. Surely he realizes JD could have been court martialed in disgrace!