Canada’s great escape
Juniors squeak past Swiss in shootout
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.