A Record Breaking Performance


    John Tavares ties the most goals ever by a player in the World Juniors with 12 but managed to do so in 1 less game than Jeff Carter, and 13 less games than Eric Lindros, and the tournament isn’t even completed; although, after that performance, it really felt like the Gold medal game. It’s hard to top that one.

    Despite the first 10 minutes of the game, in which Canada was penalized with five 2 minutes minors, Toskarski was stellar. He shut the door in the third period and made an incredible save last in the second as his defensemen left him out to dry.

    Not that I want to criticize their play, but I’m going to do so on behalf of Teubert, Hickey and Hodgson. I don’t think I’ve ever seen these three play that poorly in their entire major junior career. Teubert routinely coughed up the puck and looked exhausted all the time which had me yelling at my television “get the hell off the ice!” Hickey did a fantastic job at being predictable and constantly throwing the puck up the center of the ice while deep in their own end. Call me crazy, but I believe that’s a no-no as per defensive hockey 101 in the novice league. As for Hodgson, he had to have been cursed. There’s no way anyone in the world should miss the net from 15 feet out 6 times in one game. I shouldn’t say “no one” in the world, we all know how talented Jason Blake is in this performance. Jason Blake is much better at missing than Hodgson. So not only did Hodgson suck at hitting the net, he still wasn’t the best at missing. That’s a double whammy.

    But with the bad comes the good. John Tavares, Angelo Esposito and Chris DiDomenico are far and away the best players on this team. Hands down, no one can carry the puck as strongly as DiDo can. This kid can cycle and make some incredible passes that leaves me asking “how the hell?” Angelo Esposito looks to have regained his “next Crosby” type game, and John Tavares is an absolute finisher. It’s the perfect line. If I were Brian Burke, my first order of business would be to trade for Esposito and try and suck for the rest of the year. If that tactic doesn’t work, initiate Plan B – Blackmail your opponents into trading them to you. It’s worked well in the past, just ask Brett Hull in the 1999 playoffs.

    The scary thing about DiDo is he just gets better and better as the tournament goes on. Toronto has struck gold with this kid, and in his pre-season game against the Penguins, he did not look anywhere our of place.

    My favorite part of tonight’s game was watching the American coach break down kicking and screaming and then Pierre McGuire stating “he’s been calm and professional this entire game”. I had a good laugh.

    Consider it the competitive side in me, but the only thing I love seeing more than Canada beating USA at anything is watching the USA pulling out their hair in the process. I’m sure our American viewers feel the same when they beat Canada.

    God Bless Canada.

    First Period:

    Canada took 5 penalties in the first 8 minutes of play and thanks to the refs, and some sloppy performances, the United States made them pay for it. But never fear, Tavares is here.

    Tokarski was out of position and lacked confidence in the first half of the period, but thanks to a big time momentum swing after the USA player stuck his stick out from the bench after a Canada goal and jabbed it into DiDomenico’s eyes, Canada woke up and has played the game ever since with a vengeance.

    John Tavares, 7 goals thus far in the tournament, is approaching the tournament record of 10. He’s been unbelievable tonight and has helped pull Canada back out from the 3 goal deficit. Team Canada is on fire and are looking to steal this game away.

    Jimmy Hayes scored a goal that had eyes for the States. He snuck it in 5 hole on the 5-3 powerplay, but was completely left untouched by Canada in front of the net. He’s very smooth at finding his way unharmed into the slot, and if it’s a sign of things to come, he’ll be a damn good player for the Leafs.

    As for the stick in the face, it was number 25 for the United States who did it, and upon further review of the video footage, he had caught DiDo first, and tried to catch the second Canadian player behind him as well. This is a definite call for suspension.

    This game has absolutely lived up to expectations. Hopefully Canada will come out victorious.

    Second Period:

    Canada has just taken the lead. There’s a big difference between these teams. Pat Quinn is maintaining composure at the bench, while the head coach for the United States is screaming and complaining. This only furthers the frustration with his players, and ultimately could lead to the downfall for the States.

    USA’s head coach is complaining about the hit from behind by Della Rovere on Shattenkirk on that it should have been a 5 minute major. My response, so should the stick in the face from the bench. Consider it a bit bitter on my part, but I believe in practicality, and this head coach is both unpractical and too eratic.

    Miscommunication among Canada’s penalty kill leads to a shot that deflected off Benn and into the net. Bad break. Scored by Blum.

    Canada scores a PP goal thanks to Cody Hodgson who banks it off the leg of an American defenseman and into the net. 5-4 Canada, back on top.

    DiDomenico is incredible. He is a definite top line player. The kid is talented, strong on the puck and makes very smart hockey moves. When the play is scrambling down low, he makes hard, clean passes to the point to gain the advantage in the slot. I can’t say enough about his play. He is a difference maker.

    Dustin Tokarski just made what I consider to be one of the greatest saves in the history of this sport. It’s about time he woke up, but I never expected him to be THIS good.

    DiDomenico has done everything for this team, and, as stated by TSN, has at least 1 point in every game they’ve played thus far. He’s set up plays at the point, used effective checks to his advantage, and made some great passes on the 2 on 1s. Hopefully next time he sets someone up they’ll actually hit the net.

    Canada 5 USA 4 after 40, and we’re now approaching the best period for Canada. Let’s see if they can bring the heat.

    Micheal A. Aldred
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