Facing a must-win game, Canada overcame the ejection of starting goalie Justin Pogge to beat EHC Eisbaren Berlin 5-2 on Saturday and earn a spot in the tournament final.
The performance impressed the veteran Quinn, especially because it came less than 24 hours after Canada suffered a 5-0 loss to the Russian team Khimik.
“Our guys bounced back really well,” he said. “It shows me some resilience and a real mental toughness that you have to have to win championships.
“You don’t always know if you’ve got it or not and certainly when you have a game like yesterday you start to wonder. But to watch how they bounced back was really satisfying.”
Canada will play host HC Davos in the final on Sunday.
The Canadians beat the Swiss team 6-3 earlier this week in the round robin, but Quinn said that game was much closer than the score suggests.
He expects a wild atmosphere at Eisstadion Davos during the final.
“It’s the game everybody looks for every year,” he said. “That’s the main attraction.”
Canada had to fight through some adversity to make it happen. They were playing a controlled game Saturday until Berlin forward Kelly Fairchild bumped Pogge in his crease and sparked a skirmish seven minutes into the second period.
Fairchild and Pogge were both ejected.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Quinn. “It was a terrible call – to throw a goaltender out, nobody’s ever seen that before.
“But our guys collected themselves very well. In a very emotional situation, these young boys handled themselves terrifically.”
Devan Dubnyk, who plays for the ECHL’s Stockton Thunder, replaced Pogge and helped secure the victory.
Tim Brent, Domenic Pittis, Jay Harrison, Krys Kolanos and captain Stacy Roest scored for Canada (3-1). Roest was also named the team’s top player during the round robin.
Thierry Paterlini had both goals for Berlin (1-3).
Canada took control of the game right from the opening whistle.
Brent and Pittis scored goals 19 seconds apart midway through the first period to build a 2-0 lead for a Canadian team that wasn’t giving up many chances.
“We gave up three shots in the first period and two of them were in the last minute from long range,” said Quinn. “It was night and day (from the game against Khimik).
“Our forwards weren’t good yesterday against the Russians but they were awesome today.”
The second period was penalty-filled and disrupted the flow of the game, particularly when Pogge was ejected.
But Dubnyk stepped in and closed the door. The 20-year-old, who won a gold medal with Team Canada at the 2006 world junior tournament, was a calming influence.
“He played like a wall,” said forward Jamie Wright. “He looked unfazed. He came in, held his ground and stood on his head.”
It left Quinn and his coaching staff with a decision to make. Who gets the start in goal for the final?
“We’re not sure because Dubnyk came in and did such a good job,” said Quinn.
Canada, made up of European-based pros and AHL players, is looking to win the Spengler Cup for the 11th time in the past 23 years.
It was beaten 8-3 in the final of last year’s tournament by Russian Super League team Metallurg Magnitogorsk, which was coached by Dave King of North Battleford, Sask.
Canada last won the five-team international tournament in 2003, when it beat Davos 7-4 in the final.
“We intend to win again tomorrow,” said Quinn.