Canada’s great es­cape

Ju­niors squeak past Swiss in shootout

Winnipeg Free Press - Section D - - HOCKEY -

said Hick­etts. “Maybe we un­der­es­ti­mated them a lit­tle bit, maybe the re­spect fac­tor wasn’t there and maybe it was just a lack of prepa­ra­tion.

“We knew that when we came out for the sec­ond pe­riod it was go­ing to have to be a 180, to flip the switch, to start play­ing our brand of hockey.”

Damian Riat and Dario Meyer scored for Switzer­land (0-3), while Joren van Pot­tel­berghe stopped 32 shots.

Black­wood, who made 23 saves, sat out Canada’s first two games as he com­pleted an eight-game sus­pen­sion from the On­tario Hockey League. Net­min­der Ma­son McDon­ald started the first two games of the tour­na­ment with Sa­muel Mon­tem­beault serv­ing as the backup.

Switzer­land has re­lied on a phys­i­cal, pun­ish­ing brand of hockey to make up for its rel­a­tive lack of skill com­pared to coun­tries such as Canada and Swe­den. That led to sus­pen­sions for three Swiss play­ers af­ter an 8-2 loss to Swe­den Satur­day.

A sim­i­lar strat­egy was used against Canada Tues­day with more suc­cess. The Cana­di­ans (2-1), who lost 4-2 to the United States Satur­day and routed Den­mark 6-1 Mon­day, ad­mit­ted to not do­ing their home­work on the Swiss or their tac­tics.

“We didn’t come out with the same in­ten­sity as we did against the Amer­i­cans or against the Danes for that mat­ter,” said Barzal. “That’s a lack of prepa­ra­tion on our part and we’re not go­ing to make that mis­take again.

“Kind of shot our­selves in the foot with that 2-0 deficit there but I thought we fin­ished strong in the sec­ond and third and kind of pushed the pace.”

Hick­etts is one of four play­ers who played on last year’s gold medal-win­ning team. Al­though the win over Switzer­land was a lit­tle too close for com­fort, he’s glad it hap­pened when it did.

“We have to pre­pare to play ev­ery game. Noth­ing’s easy in this tour­na­ment,” said Hick­etts. “The four re­turnees es­pe­cially know that from last year but I think hav­ing the whole group go through that at an ear­lier stage of the tour­na­ment is some­thing that go­ing for­ward is go­ing to (have) an im­pact.”

Canada has a day off be­fore fac­ing un­de­feated Swe­den (2-0) Thurs­day.

“Now we know we have to re­spect ev­ery­one in this tour­na­ment,” said for­ward Mitch Marner. “Ev­ery­one has world-class tal­ent. Next game we have to know that and make sure we come ready to play.”

Black­wood, who will likely be in net again for Canada against Swe­den, agreed with his team­mates on the les­son learned.

“Re­spect­ing your op­po­nents,” said Black­wood. “Not tak­ing any­body lightly. Any team can come out and sur­prise any­body.

“They caught us on our heels a lit­tle bit and came to play. Ku­dos to them.”

Barzal and Thomas Chabot cel­e­brate.

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