2 Words: Total Domination.
Canada is ready to kick off the tournament in just a few minutes time and John Tavares is happy to have his lines set. â€œI like the guys Iâ€™m playing with. Chris has good stick skills so hopefully we can put some inâ€. Canada has essentially two number 1 lines rolling with equal minutes as Cody Hodgson has emerged as a â€œlead by exampleâ€ type player through the pre-tournament games. Heâ€™s been dangerous on every shift and confuses the opposition with his patience and hybrid ability to be a sniper or gifted playmaker.
Tyler Myers will be back in action tonight. The speedy giant was held out of the Slovakia exhibition game due to precautionary measures. It was believed he had a slight knee injury but has been cleared to play by the medical staff. Evander Kane will continue his play with Cormier and Della Rovere tonight. The trio provides an effective energy line and with their offensive capabilities they will not only be clearing bodies but also sneak in the garbage goals.
Similar to the way Canada has started each pre-tournament game, theyâ€™ve studied their opponents in a timid first period and developed a few chances after a technical neutral zone play for a third of the opening frame. Della Rovere and Patrice Cormier provided a physical energy shift in the last half of the period that transitioned the game to put the Czechâ€™s on their heels. The Czechâ€™s then went on the powerplay and iced it 3 times to ruin their chances of any offensive zone coverage. Canada upped the pressure for the last few minutes which drew a penalty. In the dying seconds, John Tavares created magic out of nothing and sniped a no-look shot top shelf to open the scoring and put Canada up by one going into the second period. The only advantage the Czechâ€™s gained in the first 20 was that it ended and hopefully slowed the momentum down.
This period was primarily a goaltenders duel as both provided big saves and bailed their team out when they made mistakes. DiDo was robbed point blank in front of the net, and minutes later Tokarski stoned Ruzicka on the breakaway for a highlight save. Much of the game will depend on how well both tenders can maintain their confidence as the match continues.
Score: 1-0 after 20
One goaltending duel is over, and another starts as the Czech Republic are forced to change goalies just passed the midway point of the second. Dustin Tokarskiâ€™s effort thus far, dare I say it, no I wonâ€™t, but it warrants something that must not be written or spoken.
John Tavares. John Tavares. John Tavares. You can tell he has two things on his mind; a gold medal, and the number 1 position in the draft. His perfectly timed pass to Esposito just blew my mind and he makes me wish the Leafs were in a lower position. Thereâ€™s still time for the Leafs to fall, and considering the last two games, it gives me optimism. Someone find a lamp and dedicate all three wishes to John Tavares in a Leafs uniform.
Ryan Ellis is the first 17 year-old defensemen since Wade Redden in 1995 to score a goal in the World Juniors tournament. Cody Hodgson and Zach Boychuk are at it again, and Eberle is really starting to come alive. He created Ellisâ€™ goal thanks to his great agility as he leaps over a player to make the pass.
Pat Quinn rolls all four lines with close to equal time and three of those lines have tallied a goal. How do you stop a team that not only gets better as the game goes on, but has scoring power on every line? Itâ€™s a simple answer.
Score: 5-0 after 40
DiDomenico picks up another point and has his best game thus far. The chemistry on this line is incredible. This team makes the goaltender change practically useless.
Tyler Ennis makes the most unbelievable and unselfish 3 foot pass Iâ€™ve ever seen, right to DiDomenico. He wasnâ€™t going to miss this one. If you didnâ€™t see this goal, watch the highlights.
Czechâ€™s have a goal waived off as the ref blew the whistle early, bad break for the Czechâ€™s, but I respect the ref for going to their bench to apologize on behalf of his mistake. Della Rovere leaves the game after blocking a shot. Itâ€™s possible he broke his foot. Shortly after, the Czechâ€™s finally beat Tokarski and ruin the goose egg. Maybe I ruined it by not saying â€œshut outâ€ but still mentioning it in a round-about way; either way, Iâ€™ll take the blame.
Canada finished the game with an 8-1 final, and John Tavares gets Canadaâ€™s player of the game.
Micheal A. Aldred