Canada Explodes late in final tune up
A near capacity crowd packed the Halifax Metro Centre this evening to witness their home team’s last tune up against Team Finland before the IIHF World Junior Championships begin on Boxing Day. In the end they would be sent home happy, as the home team came back from a two-goal deficit to walk to a 6-3 victory.
Finish Head Coach Erkka Westerlund felt happy with his team’s performance early, but blamed a short bench of only 15 skaters for their eventual drop off. "We got a good start to the game, as I feel the Canadians came out a little nervous. In the second period, a string of stupid penalties allowed Canada to get back in the game. By the time the third period came we had no energy left. We played two games in two days with only fifteen skaters and I feel as though our performance on the ice illustrates the results of that."
Captain Scottie Upshall says that a well rounded team effort was the key to Canada’s victory. "Well roundedness is going to be a slogan for our team in this tournament. We don’t have a first line or a fourth line as such; instead we just roll through all four lines, much like we did this evening."
David LeNeveu got the call to represent Canada between the pipes on this night, and he looked good in limited action. Although he allowed three goals on only 18 shots, all three were tough goals, two coming on breakaways and one on a screened shot from the blueline. All-in-all, LeNeveu was quite pleased with the performance of the team in front of him. "I thought this was a character builder for our team, we went down early but exploded later to come back for the victory. I wouldn’t call my performance spectacular, but I felt as though I played well enough for the team to win, and that is the goaltender’s job each and every night."
"Finland is a very good team," praised Canadian Coach Marc Habscheid. "They play a great team game that put us on our heels early in the game. We were fortunate to battle back, and I think that the fact that they were short four skaters resulted in them running out of gas earlier then us, who were able to field a full roster. I thought we were tentative early, and I felt we were playing too cute, which is not the way we want to play against a good team like Finland. It took us a while to realize that, however, once we did we were able to turn things around."
The game started with a slow pace set by both teams, however, Canada was able to capitalize on their first shot of the game, just three minutes in. Jordin Tootoo took a Jay McClement pass on a 2-on-1 and buried the puck into the yawning cage behind Finish netminder Tuomas Nissinen. Within five minutes, Finland had erased the memory of that early Canadian lead with a pair of goals from Jussi Timonen and Valterri Filppula to take a 2-1 lead into the dressing room after twenty minutes.
The game picked up the pace in the second period, with both teams opening up and finding space to skate. With the added speed, came a host of penalties, as defencemen were forced to try and cope with the new sense of speed on the ice. The teams combined for a whopping ten penalties, allowing both squads to test their special teams. Finland extended their lead to two-goals in the first minute of that second frame, as a turnover deep in the Canadian defensive zone left Filppula all alone in front of LeNeveu, where he would make no mistake, notching his second goal of the game. Team Canada’s powerplay unit took over soon after, however, as Greg Campbell and Brooks Laich each tallied markers with the man advantage to draw the game level again at 3-3.
The third period saw Canada outwork the fatigued Fins in almost every aspect, scoring three times in the frame to make the victory look deceivingly impressive on the scoreboard. Adding goals for Canada were Scottie Upshall, Boyd Gordon and Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau, making the final score 6-3, Team Canada over Team Finland.
For more information:
André Brin Director, Communications | Directeur, communications