Canada 4 - Denmark 1
TURRIS NETS TWO AS CANADA GETS BACK IN WIN COLUMN VS. DENMARK
by Alan Adams
PARDUBICE, Czech Republic – It's win or go home time for Canada at the 2008 IIHF World Junior Championship.
Canada beat Denmark 4-1 in their round-robin finale on Monday, setting up a quarterfinal with Finland on Wednesday.
"They are a good team," said head coach Craig Hartsburg about the Finns. "They work hard and they are a lot like a North American team. They will be a tough opponent."
The Canadians began New Year's Eve with a chance of finishing in first place in Group A, but Sweden's 4-2 victory over the Czech Republic earlier in the day clinched top place for the Swedes, who received a bye to the semi-finals.
Canada finished second with a 3-1 record, marking the first time since 2002 that the National Junior Team has not finished in first place in their group.
The Canadians now face the task of winning three games in four nights to claim a fourth straight gold medal.
"We can do it and we will give it our best," said Hartsburg.
The host Czech Republic wound up in third place in Group A, while the Slovaks and Danes finished fourth and fifth, respectively, and will play in the relegation round.
The United States finished atop the standings in Group B and advanced to the semifinals, while the Russians grabbed second and the Finns third. Kazakhstan and Switzerland will round out the four-team relegation round.
The winner of the Canada-Finland match-up will play the United States in a Friday semi-final, potentially setting up a rematch of the classic Canada/USA semi-final from one year ago.
"We have to make sure we play a hard 60 minutes from now on," said Tavares. "We can't have any more breakdowns (like they did against Sweden) and make sure we play our game."
"We challenged them before the game to give us their best game and we played a good 60 minutes," added Hartsburg. 'We played with a lot of emotion and a lot of intensity. After a loss like that, this was the game we needed."
The winner of the quarterfinal between Russia and the Czech Republic will take on Sweden in the other semi-final.
The Canadians were relentless against the Danes, but goaltender Christian Moeller was the reason why the first-ever meeting between the three-time defending gold medalists and Denmark wasn't more one-sided, stopping 39 shots.
Kyle Turris (New Westminster, BC/University of Wisconsin, WCHA), with a pair of goals, Shawn Matthias (Mississauga, ON/Belleville, OHL), and John Tavares (Oakville, ON/Oshawa, OHL) scored for Canada.
Matthias, Turris, Tavares and Josh Godfrey (Kingston, ON/Sault Ste. Marie, OHL) all had two-point nights in the win.
Steve Mason (Oakville, ON/London, ON) was working on a shutout until Mikkel Boedker, who plays for the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League, batted a rebound into the net midway through the final period with Denmark on a 5-on-3 powerplay.
The Danes – making their IIHF World Junior Championship debut - are coached by Calgary native Ken Babey, who led Canada's National Men's Under-18 Team at the 2000 IIHF World Under-18 Championship, and has been bench boss at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology for more than 20 years.
The win prevented Canada from losing two consecutive games at the World Juniors for the first time since 1998, when it lost three in a row to Russia, the United States and Kazakhstan on the way to an eighth-place finish.