Canada solid in victory; Czech’s up next

Greg Smith December 27, 2013 4

Malmo, Sweden-  Anthony Mantha scored three goals and Jonathon Drouin assisted on all three of his goals as Canada rebounded from a poor start to beat Team Germany 7-2 at the World Junior Hockey Championships in Sweden.  Canada outshot the Germans 30-24 in the game, but the shots weren’t indicative of how lopsided this game really was.  Outside of the first 10 minutes Canada dominated this game and if it wasn’t for strong German goaltending the game could’ve been more lopsided.

Poor Start

There seems to be a common theme so far for Team Canada.  After there previous 3 exhibition games and yesterday’s game to Germany, Team Canada has a tendency to start slow in games.  Last night they actually fell behind 2-1 to Germany after a poor give away.  Including their 3 exhibition games this is now four (4) straight games in which they have had a poor start and fallen behind.  In games against the lesser likes of Germany, Norway…etc.  you can get away with a poor start.  However, that’s not the case when your playing a Russia or Sweden, which was evident in their exhibition loss to Sweden.

Defense and Goaltending

Team Canada has plenty of firepower offensively so that seems of no concern to me.  They will generate plenty of chances and get their goals.  Its on the back end that I am worried.  Defensively they played well overall but had moments when they struggled.  Goaltending to me is the biggest question mark.  Jake Patterson could not be faulted on the second German goal, which was a bad give away by defenseman Adam Pelech who fanned on a clearing attempt.  For me it would’ve been nice to see Patterson save one or two of those, saving a goal for Canada, however, again neither goal was his fault.  One was a mis-clearing and on the first goal the German player who tipped the shot was tied up properly.

Next opponent

The next opponent for Team Canada is the Czech Republic.  After watching Team USA dismantle the Czechs 5-1 and hearing that the Slovak’s beat Germany 6-1 I think Canada has more to fear from the USA and the Slovak’s when they play them.  The Czech’s were outplayed in all aspects of their game and they no longer have goaltender Peter Mrazek, the star of the last world juniors, to save them.  I expect Canada to dismantle the Czech’s and I wouldn’t be surprised if we beat them by more than we beat the German’s.