Canada 7 vs. Slovakia 3
CANADA OPENS WJHC WITH WIN OVER SLOVAKIA
by John Edison
Grand Forks, N.D. - Canada’s National Junior Team started and finished strong in its opening game at the 2004 World Junior Hockey Championship, with a 7-3 victory over Slovakia.
Team Canada dominated the first two periods of play, but slipped a little in the third as Slovakia netted an early goal and appeared to gain some momentum. Team Canada put out Slovakia’s hopes of a comeback shortly afterwards with an insurance goal.
Slovakia spent much of the first period on the penalty kill. The team was short a man four times in the opening period, and was given two misconduct penalties for checking from behind.
Slovakian goaltender Jaroslav Halak said the early penalties hurt the team. “We need to play with intensity, but we need to stay out of the box,” he said. “When we’re five-on-five we play very well as a team.”
Patrice Bergeron opened up the scoring for Team Canada after he beat goaltender one-on-one Halak for a goal at 3:55. Sidney Crosby was credited with the assist.
Team Canada went up 2-0 midway through the first when Sidney Crosby received a pass from Corey Perry and put the puck past Halak. After one period of play, Canada was leading 12-3 in shots on goal.
“Overall we played well, we’re all similar types of players (on our line), so if we get a good look at a shot, we’ll take it,” said Crosby. “We tried to feed off of each other and feed off each other’s rebounds.”
Team Canada carried its momentum into the second period when Bergeron put the puck between Halak’s legs for his second goal of the night.
Canada took a couple penalties early in the period, but successfully defended the Slovakian power play. According to Michael Richards, Canada did a good job on the penalty kill, something which is good to see early. “We’re going to need to rely on the penalty kill later in the tournament,” he said.
Canada’s fourth goal of the game came 9:52 into the second period, as Slovakia learned the dangers of leaving Crosby undefended. Bergeron found Crosby all alone next the goalpost and hit him with a pass. Crosby then put the puck into an open net for a power play goal.
“We realize that we have to play intense and take every game seriously,” said Crosby.
Slovakia’s Andrej Meszaros said experience and intimidation could have been factors early in the game. “Canada’s got more experience,” he said. Coach Dusan Gregor agreed. “The players respected Canada way too much from the beginning.”
Slovakia began to gain a little momentum after the Crosby goal, scoring its first goal on a power play. Marek Zagrapan tipped a Boris Valabik shot from the blue line past goaltender Jeff Glass.
Team Canada’s response, however, was quick. Less than a minute after Slovakia’s goal, Jeff Carter put Canada up 5-1.
In the final minutes of the second period, Slovakia’s Stanislav Lascek made the score 5-2.
According to Meszaros, Slovakia’s coach Gregor stressed the importance of an early goal between periods.
As the final period opened, Slovakia did just that. Peter Olvecky received the puck on a pass from Jaroslav Markovic and put it through the five hole of Jeff Glass to set the score at 5-3. Slovakia was then given a chance to pull within one as both Richards and Bergeron were sent to the penalty box.
“We played hard, but when we let up they scored,” said Crosby. “We’re like any other team. When we’re not on, we get scored on.”
Canada successfully killed the 5-3 advantage, and put away any hopes of a comeback shortly afterwards. Eight seconds after the penalty to Bergeron ended, Canada charged down the ice with a three on two break.
The play finished when Bergeron fed Clarke MacArthur a pass, leaving MacArthur with a wide open net. MacArthur notched his second goal of the night on a penalty shot with seven seconds remaining in the game.
Bergeron was named player of the game for Team Canada with two goals and two assists. He said it was an award he wasn’t prepared for. “I didn’t have any expectation, but obviously it’s great,” he said.
Canada coach Brent Sutter said Bergeron’s NHL experience has been very positive for the team. “Anytime you have the caliber experience he has … it’s a huge plus, and obviously he’s a great player.”
Despite the win, the momentum change early in the third period indicated that Canada still has some work to do.
“It’s a good thing we know we need to get better,” said Sutter.
CANADA WINS OPENER 7-3 OVER SLOVAKIA
Canada won its opener at the 2005 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship, with a convincing 7-3 win over Slovakia. Patrice Bergeron led the way for Canada with two goals and two assists. Canada takes on Sweden on December 27th.
Sidney Crosby and Clarke MacArthur accounted for two goals each as well, while Jeff Carter added a single. Jeff Glass was credited with his first international win, as he stopped 20 of 23 shots that he faced.
CANADA LEADS 5-2 AFTER FORTY MINUTES
GRAND FORKS, N.D. – The crowd seemed to be in overwhelming favor of Canada’s National Junior Team. Team Canada came into the second period of their 2004 World Juniors game against Slovakia on fire. After taking a 2-0 lead in the first, Bergeron and Crosby both added goals in the second period. Bergeron scored his second of the game at 1:05, while Crosby added his at 9:52.
After a power play goal by Slovakia’s Marek Zagrapan at 12:05 of the second period, Canada put in its fifth goal of the contest. The goal came at 12:38 by Jeff Carter with an assist from Andrew Ladd. Slovakia added a second goal at 17:35 of the second period off a goal by Stanislav Lascek. He was assisted by Stefan Ruzicka.
Team Canada continued to overwhelm the Slovakian team outshooting them 18-10. Canada leads after two periods 5-2.
CANADA TAKES 2-0 LEAD IN FIRST PERIOD
GRAND FORKS, N.D – In opening round action of the 2004 World Junior Hockey Championship in Grand Forks, N.D., Canada’s National Junior Team took to the ice against Slovakia.
Team Canada dominated from the first drop of the puck. With a speed advantage over Slovakia, Team Canada exploited them with two quick goals.
Goals by Sidney Crosby and Patrice Bergeron got Team Canada off to a swift start taking a 2-0 lead into the second period. Bergeron opened the scoring at 3:55 of the first period, sent in alone on a Crosby feed. Crosby added Team Canada’s second goal at 10:59 with an assist from Corey Perry. Team Canada outshot Slovakia 12-3 in the opening period.
The waiting is finally over. The gifts have been unwrapped and its time for World Junior Hockey Championship action. Canada opens up today against Slovakia, at 3:30 pm (Eastern). Watch the game live on TSN and RDS.
Canada is the top seed in Group B, where it will take on Slovakia, Sweden, Germany and Finland in the preliminary round. Group A includes Belarus, the Czech Republic, Russia, Switzerland and USA.
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André Brin Director, Communications | Directeur, communications