Norway 0 - Canada 4
CANADA DOWNS NORWAY IN PENALTY-FILLED AFFAIR
By Greg Alexis | Box Score
Team Canada got its third straight win Thursday at the 2006 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship, shutting out Norway 4-0 in front of 16,083 fans at the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver.
Canada’s Luc Bourdon led the way with a goal and an assist and Jonathan Towes added two helpers. Bourdon was also named Player of the Game for Canada.
“I think the guys played pretty well today,” said Bourdon. “We put a lot of shots on net.”
Canadian goalie Justin Pogge only saw 12 shots, but made some key saves when called upon to collect his first goose egg of the tournament.
“I felt pretty good out there,” said Pogge. “I didn’t get too many shots, but I battled through traffic, which I wasn’t doing yesterday.”
Despite allowing four goals, Norwegian netminder Lars Haugen also looked sharp, stopping 46 of 50 shots and keeping the game respectable for the Norwegian squad.
“We’re trying to learn,” says Haugen. “But most of us have never played at this level before. We know we’re not expected to win, but it’s important for us to make our country proud.”
The last time these two teams faced each other at a World Junior Tournament was 1991, but by the end of this game, they looked like old rivals. Tempers mounted throughout the game and finally culminated in an on-ice brawl in the final seconds.
“We felt they were taking liberties with our goalie at the end of the game,” says Canadian defenceman Cam Barker. “We didn’t feel like we went overboard.”
"In all, the two teams racked up 160 penalty minutes (78 to Norway, 82 to Canada), the highest-single game total in Team Canada history. The previous high was 94 (57 to Canada, 37 to Sweden) back in 1992." After the game, Head Coach Brent Sutter was clearly not happy with the officiating
“I’m kind of sitting here wondering what a call is and what isn’t,” said Sutter. “You can barely touch a guy’s stick or skate now. As a fan, it’s not entertaining, and as a coach, it makes it difficult to coach.
Hockey Canada President Bob Nicholson echoed Sutter’s statement
“This isn’t a Team Canada issue. It’s a situation that’s happening with all the officials. Coaches are telling the players to get better, so we certainly want to see the officials get better.
Both teams started the game at a sluggish pace. It was hard for either side to get any sort of momentum, as a total of 14 penalties were called in the first frame alone.
Canadian captain Kyle Chipchura had the best chance early on, as he beat Haugen through the legs, but the puck ended up just sliding by the goalpost.
Canada finally opened up the scoring at 15:27 of the first period. With Norwegian defenceman Erik Grafsronningen off for holding, Barker took a pass at the point from Michael Blunden, skated in and beat Haugen low to the glove side.
In the second period, Canada’s offence came alive. With the man advantage, David Bolland knocked home a rebound at 14:50, as he managed to get his stick on a loose puck in the crease and shoveled the puck home.
Thirty-four seconds later, Canada went up 3-0 when Chipchura put home a backhand on his second attempt after taking a pass from Jonathan Toews.
Luc Bourdon made it 4-0 when he skated in on the left wing after taking a cross ice pass from Toews and snapped a hard shot past Haugen.
“It’s always fun to score goals,” said Bourdon. “That’s why we play hockey. After putting lots of shots on goal, it’s great to score.”
On Saturday, Canada will play its biggest game of the tournament versus the USA. The Americans have earned two wins so far in the tournament, and will face Switzerland Friday before the most hyped match-up of the Round Robin.
“I can’t wait to play [the Americans],” said Pogge. “They’re a good team and we’re a good team so we match up pretty well.”
PREVIEW: NORWAY - CANADA
By Lucas Aykroyd
Norway: The Norwegians filed a diplomatic protest at the Swiss consulate in Vancouver Thursday morning. Well, no, they didn’t. Just kidding. But you can see why they might want to. Considering what a battle the Swiss gave Canada Wednesday night at the Pacific Coliseum, you can figure the Canadians will be furiously seeking to elevate their game tonight, and the Norwegians will probably pay the price. There haven’t been many bright spots for this Scandinavian nation at the 2006 World Juniors. Making its first appearance at the tournament since 1991, the Norwegians have allowed 13 goals in two games and were shut out in their previous tilt versus Switzerland, a 2-0 loss. The power play has yielded all of Norway’s offence so far, with two goals versus the USA. Norway’s best hope may be for Canada to take a lot of unnecessary penalties, because five-on-five, this team isn’t well-equipped to succeed. In terms of competing physically, only four of its players weigh more than 190 pounds, compared to 10 on the Canadian side. And while the Norwegians have decent skill and speed, they’ll be hard-pressed to exploit those assets--unless they get lots of room in man advantage situations. Based on performance alone, Norway should start the beleaguered Ruben Smith in goal for the third straight game. The 18-year-old, who plays for Storhamar IL Hamar in Norway, has achieved the tournament’s third-best save percentage so far at .897, a fairer measure of his performance than his 5.35 GAA. But late indications from the Norwegian coaching staff were that it might be time for Lars Haugen, the lone individual on this roster who plays in Sweden (Leksands IF), to see some action. And if Norway figures it has a more realistic chance of beating Finland in its final Round Robin matchup than of defeating Canada, it might make sense to save Smith for the Finland game.
Canada: After edging a feisty Swiss squad 4-3 Wednesday night, many Team Canada players admitted they hadn’t taken their opponents seriously enough. Head Coach Brent Sutter is not going to tolerate that mentality, and players who don’t bring their A games versus Norway tonight are going to find themselves stapled to the bench, similar to what happened to forwards Guillaume Latendresse and Andrew Cogliano in the second period against Switzerland. Even if the Norwegians start yapping and face-washing every Canadian player in sight (OK, not very likely), there can’t be any more bad penalties like the double minor for high-sticking and elbowing Benoit Pouliot took late in a one-goal game versus the Swiss. All that being said, you can fully expect Canada to put in a much better effort tonight. Dustin Boyd has presented the most consistent offensive threat for this team (four points in two games), and he’s been ably backed up by the grit of guys like Blake Comeau and Steve Downie, who have accounted for three points apiece. Looking at the blueliners, even though Cam Barker added a pair of helpers in his last outing, you get the feeling that the Chicago Blackhawks prospect has more to give, and Luc Bourdon, while showing up on the scoresheet with three assists and playing physically, can also take it to another level. Justin Pogge will get his third straight start between the pipes. While the big Calgary Hitmen product allowed a couple of suspect goals against the Swiss, he should be able to make the necessary adjustments tonight (i.e. not get caught deep in his net when he should be out at the top of the crease). Canada may not get up into double digits tonight, but with all due respect to the Norwegians, Coach Sutter should rightfully expect his team to win by four or five goals and post a solid defensive effort.
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André Brin Director, Communications | Directeur, communications