SASKATOON – The Canadians got the result they wanted against Switzerland, but will have to be better in the final if they hope to grab gold for a sixth straight tourney.
Canada won 6-1, but didn’t execute consistently on the power play and allowed some decent scoring chances to the Swiss, who couldn’t contain the Canucks the way they did the Russians 24 hours earlier.
Goaltender Benjamin Conz was excellent once again in the first period, but as in the round robin, was eventually solved and punished by Canada.
Taylor Hall had two goals for Canada and defenseman Marco Scandella added a nifty shorthanded tally with what turned out to be the game-winner.
With nothing left to decide, the game had some dangerously chippy moments in the third, including Switzerland’s Jeffrey Fuglister being booted for a hit from behind on Canadian defender Travis Hamonic.
The best line for Canada featured a trio of Western League boys. Brayden Schenn, Jordan Eberle and Brandon McMillan took the opening faceoff all three periods and proved too much for the Swiss defenders to handle. The fact coach Willie Desjardins kept going back to the line was not lost on the youngsters.
“I think he has faith in us to play offense as well as defense out there,” said center Eberle. “He trusts us to do the right things and I think that’s why he’s starting us.”
Eberle’s line totaled four points on the night and has been a force all tournament long.
“We’ve got a little bit of everything,” Eberle said. “Maccer’s a grinding type guy; he wins battles. Schenner’s a good set-up guy and I like to think of myself as a finisher, but for the most part we all work hard and we get pucks.”
Stay-at-home blueliner Colten Teubert also had a strong game, making life hellish for Swiss forwards with his nasty, physical play.
No matter who the Canadians face in the final, they’ll have to play more consistently than they did in what turned out to be less of a test than they might have hoped in a semifinal.
“I thought our second period was a little lackadaisical and we kind of shied away from our game,” McMillan said. “But in the third we took over.”
As for how the team will prepare, the gold medal game will present challenges.
“We’re going to have to go over some video,” said blueliner Ryan Ellis. “We just have to chip pucks deep, bang and crash and play Canadian hockey.”
All North American final at 2010 WJC
The semifinals are in the books at the 2010 WJC in Saskatoon. Sunday night in semifinal action Team Canada brought the Swiss back to earth with a 6-1 shellacking, while the U.S. used their speed and finesse to fly past Sweden 5-2, once again led by Jerry D’Amigo’s two goals. The Hockey News’ Ryan Kennedy caught up with the victors as they reveled in their triumph and switched their focus to the gold medal game.
Ryan Kennedy is in Saskatoon for the World Junior Championship and will be filing daily reports through to the end of the tournament.
Ryan Kennedy is a writer and copy editor for The Hockey News magazine, the co-author of the book Hockey’s Young Guns and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears Monday and Wednesday, his column – The Straight Edge – every Friday, and his prospect feature, The Hot List appears Tuesdays.
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