Canada finished off their pre-tournament World Junior schedule off with a dominating 6-0 performance against the Swiss on Tuesday night in Ottawa.
The Swiss started off with a very strong defensive game. The Swiss have always been known to be a defense-first hockey nation, and with Mirco Mueller, Phil Baltisberger and Jonas Siegenthaler in action on Tuesday, the fact remained true early. The team made a good effort of forcing Canada to the outside, as well as collapsing in whenever Canada began to break through the middle.
Both teams took multiple penalties, early and with each team sending a player off during a minute span, Canada would end up grabbing the 1-0 lead following a terrific passing play. First, Madison Bowey picked up the puck at the blue line before sending it to a pinching Josh Morrissey, who made a quick pass over to Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Brayden Point for the ice breaker. Point, who captains the Moose Jaw Warriors of the Western Hockey League, scored three goals in pre-tournament action against the CIS Selects last week, giving him four goals in five games prior to the start of the actual World Junior tournament on Friday.
The Swiss came out with a much better effort in the second, even if a lot of the period was spent on the power-play. At the half-way point in the second, Switzerland had a 7-2 shot advantage, with many of the chances coming with the man advantage. For Canada, the early penalty-kill practice was a breath of fresh air, as the team has a tendency to wait until the start of the real tournament to take all their penalties.
The Max Domi-Anthony Duclair duo began to really heat up near the end of the second. With less then five minutes to go in the period, Domi converted on a nice wrist shot after Duclair kept the puck in near the blue line, scoring after nearly a minute of resilient pressure by the Canadians.
13 seconds later, Domi would strike again. This time, Duclair fired the shot towards the net, only to have Domi tip the puck just in front of the crease to make it 3-0 Canada quickly.
The floodgates were open. Just 53 seconds after the first Domi goal, Jake Virtanen made a fantastic play around a slow moving Swiss defender before deking goaltender Ludovic Waeber, who was beaten over the blocker for the 4-0 Canadian goal.
Due to Switzerland’s defense failing to find the same strength they did in the early stages, Waeber was forced to stop many great scoring opportunities, mainly from Nic Petan. Petan’s first good scoring chance came in the first few minutes of the first, when he took a puck off of a blind pass from the boards and beat three Swiss defenders, who didn’t seem to realize the period was actually on.
Luckily for them, Waeber came up big, but he wouldn’t be able to do it all alone. With four defenders on Connor McDavid, Nick Ritchie was able to scoop up the puck behind the net before beating Waeber with the wrap-around goal all alone in front.
In case you needed any proof that Domi was a future superstar in the making, the Arizona Coyotes prospect took the puck in the slot and fired it home for his third goal of the night. Domi, who came into the selection camp as the Ontario Hockey League’s top scorer, had seven points in the past two pre-tournament games, all coming with Duclair and Sam Reinhart on the same line. The sixth goal proved to be the final one for Canada, who had no issue taking home the dominant 6-0 victory to finish pre-tournament action.
Fucale finished the game with an easy goaltending performance, making 14 saves to finish off the pre-tournament with just two goals against. Canada has still yet to name a starting goaltender for the tournament, as both Fucale and Eric Comrie, who allowed one goal to Sweden on Sunday, have played well during selection camp.
Canada’s first real World Junior game will be against Slovakia on Friday night at 8pm EST. For news, game reviews and roster updates on Team Canada, click here.
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