This is the second of my installments based on the the Junior Development Camp in Lake Placid.
Game 2: Canada:7 Sweden:3
Canada's starting lineup:
Sweden came out flying in this one. They were undefeated so far in the tournament in four previous starts, and had been cannibalizing teams on the PP.
The Swedes broke out effortlessly for the first 7-8 minutes of the period, and entered Canada's zone easily setting up some good chances, which Fucale stuffed.
In the first few shifts Jankowski showed a bit of offensive flair making a couple of nice moves resulting in scoring chances. Although Poirier was adequate, he looked a bit out of place on the left side.
At about the 8 minute mark Sutter adjusted to the Swede's breakout and switched up the lines, putting Poirier on the right with Domi and McDavid; these guys clicked right away and started the first power play unit. McDavid was the best player on the ice for either team.
Monahan looked great defensively, and was a beast in the faceoff circle winning 4/5. Although he didn't get an assist, it was his line who brought the puck out of the defensive zone and up the ice on Canada's first goal.
Horvat didn't impress on the wing with Lazar and Monahan. I like Horvat more at center.
Second period was a wild one.
Canada started on the PP with the Monahan line, and Monahan hit the post about 20 seconds into the period. But it was the Domi-Poirier-McDavid combo who scored. Domi made a beautiful no-look backpass to McDavid who roofed it making it 2-0.
That was just the first of three, because just fifteen seconds after McDavid's goal Kerby Rychel scored twice within forty seconds. The goals gave Canada a 4-0 lead five minutes into the second period. The second Rychel tally should have never gone in. It was the first shot after a goalie change from a terrible angle that somehow found its way through. But we'll take it.
After Domi being a little too fancy in the offensive zone a couple of tight passes resulted in a turnover that got Sweden their first goal. Sweden would turn it on after that and basically take over the play for the remainder of the period...thanks in part to Canada taking stupid penalties.
Darnell Nurse put the team two men down twice, taking a ten minute misconduct after admonishing the ref for what he perceived as a second weak call. The calls were for boarding and crosschecking.
No one stood out for Canada in the last minutes of the period, because it was all Sweden. They badly outskated Canada and were taking easy possession on the forecheck.
Wennberg looked really good for Sweden as did Walmark, Burakowsky and Karlsson.
Sweden battled back to make it 4-3 after two.
What was really interesting for Flames' fans was hearing the praise for Sieloff from the America announcers and guest (who I believe may be a blogger for this site) between periods. Both parties praised his play and leadership and predicted Sieloff would be named captain of the US team.
The third period was yet another wild one.
Canada came out with authority in the third; perhaps feeling they let up after being up 4-0 and allowed Sweden back into it. At any rate, they were back on top of their game.
Just two minutes into the frame, the line of Gauthier, Poirier and Jankowski had the Swedes hemmed in their own zone. Sweden managed to break up the cycle, but coughed up the puck to Gauthier in the slot who rifled it home.
Then, two minutes later on a similar play, after Canada entered the zone the Swedes fumbled it to Monahan who buried it from the high slot.
In the third period Sutter put Hudon with McDavid and Domi, who stayed together most of the game, and they had flashes of impressive play. Hudon wasn't any better or worse than the other wingers who played on the line, McDavid and Domi adjusted well to all of the wingers they played with. McDavid lived up to his hype. He and Domi had good chemistry together.
Max Domi is a dynamic, skilled player. But he holds onto the puck too long sometimes and makes bonehead plays. He took a double minor and a misconduct with about seven minutes left with a three goal lead. You gotta hate that.
Bo Horvat rounded out the scoring for Canada after joining the fourth line with an assist going to Anthony Mantha.
First a bit about Jankowski. He looked better at the beginning of the game, than as the game went on, but in the third period Sutter seemed to be using that line as a checking line applying heavy pressure, which Jankowski adjusted to well.
Which brings me to the play of Poirier. He was great in the third period. He was relentless on the forecheck and stifled the Swedes breakout along the boards all by himself by using his speed to get in front of the cycle for 1/2 a shift. It was impressive.
Later in the period Poirier stretched out sweeping the puck out of the Canadian zone, managed to get to it first and used his wheels to burn the defenseman on the outside and cut in for a close-in chance on net, drawing a penalty on the play. That kid is fast.
After seeing him in the last two games, I am pretty sure he will make the team. If not ,there is still a lot to be excited about. He is an interesting player who is really finding his game.
As for Sean Monahan, some people probably thought he wasn't very prominent except when he scored. But he definitely has has his game in order. I watched him closely and he does all the little things. He is never out of position and came back to help bail out the defense numerous times.
He is a complete player already who isn't particularly flashy, but controls the play a lot in all three zones. He recognizes opportunities and anticipates the play well. He showed good speed breaking up the right side on a couple of rushes. His goal was a ballistic wrist shot. He can really fire the puck. I think he would be showing better if he was playing with different wingers. That line didn't seem to have much chemistry, as they crossed up at the blue line several times. I would like to see him with Poirier.
As for the defense I am still not that impressed. Slater Koekkoek played a much better game. Dumba had a couple of good shifts. Overall I liked Damon Severson a lot. He seems to have a nice blend of defense and offense. I liked Matt Finn as well. Nurse looked OK at times, but needs to show more composure when he is playing with IIHF refs. I think he may have been a little nervous and trying to show his skills a bit too much.
This and that: One of the Canadians(might have been Horvat) dealt out a dirty knee hit on Wennberg in the third period that went uncalled. Wennberg returned, but was tentative.
There was a lot of pushing and shoving at the end of the game when a Canadian ran into the Swedish goalie with just a few seconds left. Not impressed with that or the knee.
Factoid: In the 1996 WJC Jarome Iginla led Canada undefeated to Gold. Iginla shared the scoring lead (12 points) with Team Germany's Florian Keller, but claimed the tournament top scorer's honours on the strength of 5 goals to 4. Florian's linemate was Marco Sturm who had 10 points.
Cheers, and thanks for comin' out.
Interesting read. So you like Finn so far, what are your thoughts on Gauthier? From what Ive heard he is doing well and is showing he can be more than just a checking line center.
Whack a do
Gauthier has looked good. Sutter has used him in a lot of situations with a lot of different linemates. Has good hockey sense. Not a bad skater. Has a good wrist shot and obviously size. Uses his size well on the cycle, protecting the puck etc. but not a heavy hitter.Not sure how he will develop, because he is so young. Needs to get faster and more mobile for the NHL. How well he improves in those areas will play a big part in determining his upside.Thanks for reading.