Friday, May 23, 2014

Scrivens comes up short for Team Canada

When Edmonton Oilers netminder Ben Scrivens decided to make the trek over to Belarus and be a part of Team Canada’s squad at the 2014 IIHF World Championship, he probably could not believe his luck. In just over a year’s time, the Cornell grad went from being traded to the Los Angeles Kings to become Jonathan Quick’s backup via the Toronto Maple Leafs, to being shipped to Edmonton in late January. 

He played well enough to pry a two year extension from the organization and will be given his first legitimate shot at earning a starting job in 2014-15. 
Scrivens continued to impress during his first ever stint in Team Canada silks and managed to wrestle away the starter’s role from his former Maple Leafs running mate James Reimer. The twenty-seven

year old had been the better of the two during the round robin portion of the competition and was given the chance to prove his worth in Thursday’s quarter-final date with Team Finland. 

While he may have looked good during what were essentially nothing games, he would likely need to raise his level if play against the pesky Finns. Unfortunately his performance in what was a must-win situation left much to be desired and ultimately played a huge role in Canada dropping a 3-2 decision. There will be those who will point to Team Canada scoring only two goals in an elimination game and say that isn’t good enough but when the guy at the other end of the rink is Pekka Rinne, expecting more than a couple of goals would be wishful thinking. 

While the Nashville Predators star netminder was his usual rock solid self, stopping thirty-six of the thirty-eight pucks fired his way, goals from Kyle Turris and Mark Scheifele put the Canadians in the driver’s seat heading into period three but that didn’t last long. 

Juuso Hietanen would beat Scrivens from another time zone, on a shot that simply had no business going in and suddenly the scoreboard read 2-2 and all of twenty-eight second had elapsed. The long distance blast ate the Spruce Grove native up and gave the Finns hope. To Canada’s credit, they dominated the rest of the period but were unable to sneak another one past Rinne. 

However, it did seem like it was only be a matter of time before Tippett’s crew would find that eventual winner but disaster struck with just over three minutes to go. Defenceman Tyler Myers and Turris combined to cough up the puck just outside their blueline and Iiro Pakarinen used it to his advantage, beating Scrivens between the wickets on another shot he simply has to have. 

Be it in a tournament like the World Championship or during a regular season NHL game, true starting goalies don’t allow those sorts of pucks to get by them late in games and they certainly don’t give up two in the same period of a must-win game. It may have only been one game but when you are handed the sort of opportunity Scrivens was given and you come up with that sort of performance, it doesn’t look good. 

From the Oilers standpoint, it is rather difficult to take make any sort of assumption from one game but let’s be honest, when was the last time Ben Scrivens played a game that truly meant something? Until you see how a goaltender responds under pressure, you really don’t know how good he is and yesterday was by no means a step in the right direction. 

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