Wednesday, December 26, 2012

2013 World Juniors: Nugent-Hopkins powers Canada past Germany

No one expected Germany to give Team Canada much of a run in the two sides opener at the 2013 World Junior Championship and that was exactly how it played out. Edmonton Oilers centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins led the Canadian onslaught with a goal and four assists, as fourteen different skaters found the score sheet in Canada's 9-3 thrashing of Germany.

Netminder Malcolm Subban stopped twenty-five shots in the win and was solid in his debut, despite allowing three goals against. After jumping out to an early 2-0 lead in the opening ten minutes of play, Canada would blow things open with a five goal second period.

Mark Schiefele, who had a pair, Ryan Strome, Jonathan Huberdeau, Jonathan Drouin, Ty Rattie, Xavier Oullet and Tyler Wotherspoon were the other Canadian skaters to beat netminder Elmar Trautmann, who was left to face the Team Canada blitz for the entire sixty minutes.

The Good
  • Obviously the dominance of the club's top line was nice to see but hardly unexpected. The trio of RNH, Schiefele and Huberdeau combined for ten points on the night, in leading Canada to the easy victory. Don't be surprised to see much of the same against Slovakia but how they perform against other top teams in the tournament, will determine how far Canada can go.
  • Some may look at Subban allowing three goals against the lowly Germans as a bad sign, whereas I see it as a positive. While he did see a few pucks get behind him, the fact he actually had some rubber thrown his way, was a blessing in disguise. The worst possible scenario would have been Canada winning 9-0 and Malcolm facing fifteen to twenty shots. Instead, he was given the chance to get a feel for the puck, which should do him a world of good moving forward.
  • Probably the most impressive thing to take from Canada's victory, was the four minor penalties they took over the entire sixty minutes of play. Heading into the tournament, it was a given Team Canada would need to adjustment to the "European style" officiating but they played out and out stupid hockey during their two pre-tournament games.

The Bad
  • After jumping out to a 6-1 second period lead, Canada turned off the switch during the latter half of the period and Germany made them pay, scoring twice in less than two minutes. The first came courtesy of an awful line change and the second came off an awful turnover by Mark McNeil. They quickly righted the ship and scored their seventh before the period was out but that type of collapse could prove costly against the better teams in the tournament. 
The Ugly
  • Whenever this tournament is played outside of North America, players are forced to play in front of thousands of empty seats during the preliminary rounds and it was no different in Russia. It takes away from the overall atmosphere that now surrounds this tournament in our country but outside of holding it in Canada on a yearly basis, it is something that will continue to be an issue.

Next Game

vs Slovakia
Friday, December 28th
4:00 AM (Eastern)

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