Canada Wakes After A Sleepy Start
It was a no-win situation for Team Canada going into Sunday’s game against Germany in Halifax. Win and do only what was expected. Lose and… well that just wasn’t going to happen, was it?
Getting his first start in goal for Canada was David Le Neveu, giving Marc-Andre Fleury the night off. In the German net, Dimitri Patzold, Germany’s best player throughout the tournament. Unfortunately, he’s had to be.
The sea of red in the stands, made up of fans in team Canada T-shirts, was aniticpating a big game from the home squad, and it took less than a minute for fan favourite Jordin Tootoo to make his presence felt, delivering the first of many thundering checks.
As the game progressed, Team Canada seemed to play nervously, making mistakes and fumbling with the puck. The big shock came at 9:05 of the first, when Canadian defenseman Brendan Bell came under pressure and played the puck off the back of his net before throwing it up the middle straight to Germany’s David Danner who not only blasted home the first goal of the game, but also Germany’s first goal of the tournament. Both the crowd and the Canadian team were stunned. When the first ended with Canada down 1-0, and hardly playing their best hockey, the Germans were in a position to surprise and quite possibly upset one of the tournament favourites.
Canada began the second on a power play, one of a remarkable 11 in a row they enjoyed, and seemed to be moving the puck with greater confidence . Tootoo continued his gritty play, drawing yet another penalty, which led to even further Canadian pressure. Patzold, Germany’s player of the game, continued to make miraculous saves in the net, at one point stopping three consecutive point blank shots by Jofrey Lupul.
These were just three of the 53 shots he had to face, compared to the meager 14 his team could muster. But at 12:14 of the second, the inevitable happened when Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau grabbed his own rebound and put it past the sprawling German goalie. Only ten seconds later, captain Scottie Upshall put Canada ahead with a shot from the top of the right circle, igniting a crowd that had by the end of the first lost some of its enthusiasm.
Upshall said after that Parenteau’s goal lifted the entire team. "To see the first goal go in was a huge relief. The German goalie stood on his head and we missed lots of chances."
Canada seemed to put it’s game on automatic pilot after that, and the third period featured more of the same--Team Canada power plays and plenty of shots. Jay McClement added Canada’s fourth and final goal when he deftly deflected Colaiacovo’s point shot past a helpless Patzold.
What began as a lackluster performance for Team Canada ended as a showcase for its strengths: puck control, power play efficiency, checking, and an ability to draw penalties with startling regularity. Head coach Mark Habsheid felt his team learned something from the game. "We got away from things that made us successful. We hadn’t been down before and needed to get back to our game, and we did that in the second period."
Team Germany showed a hockey program on the rise, featuring a team philosophy based upon solid decision making, sound positioning, and error-free play. And, one very tired goaltender. Germany fall to 0-3 while Canada is now 3-0 and will face the Finns Tuesday.
A Collective Sigh of Relief
Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau is used to scoring big goals. He has done it his whole career.
After scoring Canada’s first goal in Sunday’s 4-1 victory over Team Germany, he was quick to deem it the biggest goal of his career to date. "It was a big goal for my career today, and a very big goal for the team. I’d missed a lot of chances out there tonight, but I proved that I can come back and I showed that I can score."
Going into Sunday afternoon’s action Team Canada had been awarded an easy victory over the German team by most fans and media. Unfortunately for the Canadians, however, someone forgot to tell the Team Germany. By playing mistake free hockey for the first thirty minutes of the game the Germans clung to a 1-0 lead, on the strength of their first goal of the tournament, scored by David Danner. They led despite being out-shot 24-6.
Parenteau, who wears number 25, scored on the team’s 25th shot, and it was if someone lifted the stone of Gibraltar from their shoulders. Scottie Upshall scored ten seconds later, and Carlo Colaiacovo scored twice, lifting Canada to the outcome most had predicted. "To see Pierre-Alexandre’s goal go in was such a relief, and to see mine go in too was huge," said team captain Scottie Upshall, "as a team we stayed composed, and knew what we had to do."
Parenteau’s goal was undoubtedly the game’s turning point as it prompted the Canadians to start playing with the poise that had eluded them for almost two periods.
Canada Defeats Germany 4-1
Canada dominated Germany this afternoon in Halifax, winning the game 4-1 and outshooting the Germans 51-16 before 10,300 red-shirted Canadian supporters. From midway through the first to game’s end, Canada had 11 successive power play chances and controlled play throughout. They played in cruise control for the third, but Jay McClement added one final goal to seal the Canadian victory. (full story to come)
Canada Takes 3-1 Lead into Third
Patience, patience, patience. As Canada learned from the NHL-led Olympic team in Salt Lake City, Germany is a frustrating opponent. But after trailing 1-0 after one period, Canada continued to play its game. The players were hacked, slashed, and interfered with, but wave after wave skated with their customary tenacity. At first, this didn’t result in goals but penalties and with that came domination of play. Then the goals came. Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau and Scottie Upshall scored ten seconds apart to put Canada in control, and at 19:31 Carlo Colaiacovo scored on a point shot during a 5-on-3 power play. Shots after two are 36-8, and despite the close score Germany barely crossed centre ice in the second. But beware—the game isn’t over yet.
Germany Shocking Canada 1-0
The stifling German defence has shut down Team Canada’s vaunted offence and deadly power play and takes a 1-0 lead into the first intermission thanks to a goal by David Danner. His shot in the high slot eluded goalie David Le Neveu, starting his first game of the tournament. Canadian defenceman Brendan Bell tried a cute move by bouncing the puck off the back of the net to elude a German forechecker. The play failed, and Dinner found himself alone in front with the puck. Canada later failed to tie the score with a 5-on-3 power play and although outshooting Germany 12-4 couldn’t beat goalie Dimitri Patzold.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times—a tale of two nations.
Both Team Canada and Team Germany enter Sunday afternoon’s contest coming off games against the Czech Republic, and if the results from those games are any indication then Canada and Germany are headed in opposite directions. Germany fell Friday night to the Czechs 3-0, while Canada pounded them on route to a 6-1 victory.
Canada enters their Sunday meeting with Germany on a high. After two games they have shown no sign of weakness, and appear to be firing on all cylinders. Backstopped by goaltender Marc Andre Fleury, the team has looked dominant in two games outscoring their opponents by an average of goals. Despite a lingering game against the highly-touted Finns, Canadian coach Marc Habscheid assures that his team will not look past the game against Germany.
The Germans, in contrast, enter their third game of the tournament still looking for that elusive first goal. They opened with a 4-0 defeat to the powerful Finns and followed with the loss to the Czech Republic. Had it not been for superior goaltending by Dimitri Patzold both games could have been much worse. “We’re playing hard,” Patzold said after the Czech game, “we just need to start scoring some goals. We work hard in the corners in front of the net but we could not score a goal.”
Germany will be in tough to find their first goal against the Canadians, who have shown a commitment to playing tough defence. The German team won its way into this years tournament after winning pool B last year, but have looked outmatched thus far. The team
Through two games the Canadians have been led by defensemen Carlo Colaiacovo and Ian White, as well as forwards , all who’ve shown flashes of brilliance with their scoring touch. Going into the tournament White had been heralded for his power play quarterbacking abilities, and through two games he has not disappointed. He has demonstrated both a keen sense in passing the puck and a howitzer of a shot from the point, something that should keep plenty of kraut on the German plate throughout the game.
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André Brin Director, Communications | Directeur, communications