Team Canada has been impressive in its first three victories at the 2005 World Junior Hockey Championship, with plenty of scoring and dominating teams defensively.
Canada is the highest scoring team in the Championship thus far with 24 goals. Canada also ranks first in goals against, having only allowed four goals to date.
Although Canada goals have come from a variety of players, Ryan Getzlaf has stood out from the crowd with impressive play at both ends of the ice.
He leads the World Juniors with a plus 8 on the plus/minus, and his two goals and three assist have him ranked sixth in tournament scoring.
Like many on the Team Canada roster, Getzlaf is accustomed to scoring. During the 2003-2004 season, he led the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen with 11 power play goals and finished second on the team in scoring with 28 goals in 49games.
Despite his impressive play in Grand Forks, however, the Regina native believes that it’s his supporting cast that allowed him to excel.
“The guys in our dressing room have only allowed four goals, so it’s pretty tough not to have a good plus/minus on this team,” he said. “When you work together as a line and don’t play much in our end, it helps.”
The Mighty Ducks draft pick is also no stranger to the World Juniors. The Regina native feels he gained a lot of experience during Canada’s silver medal performance at the 2004 World Juniors in Finland.
“It’s made me a little more comfortable and stuff coming into the tournament … being through the experience once, you kind of come in knowing what to expect and knowing what you got to do to win.”
Although the 6’3” forward is quick to credit his teammates with helping him out, his performance is not going unnoticed.
Jeff Carter, who played with Getzlaf in Helsinki, said he has been putting up some impressive individual performances, especially during last night’s win over Team Germany. Getzlaf notched a goal and an assist in the Team Canada victory.
“He’s doing great. He had a big game last night, and he’s an offensive guy,” said Carter, “He’s been helping us.”
When he’s not performing on the ice, Getzlaf is spending his time relaxing with the team and experiencing a little bit of Grand Forks.
“We sit around at the hotel and stuff. We’ve tried to get out a little bit, we went to mall on a couple of days and we went to a couple movies,” he said. “It’s tough, you’ve got to stay focused on the game, but you’ve got to get away from the rink as well.”