December 28, 2018
Vancouver, British Columbia
After an almost embarrassing 14-0 blowout of Denmark in their World Junior Championship opener on Boxing Day, Canada faced a much tougher adversary in Switzerland last night, coming away with a 3-2 decision, after a late goal from the Swiss made things interesting.
Canada will play two more games in the Group A preliminary round at Rogers Arena in Vancouver before entering the playoff round.
First they’ll meet the Czechs on Saturday (December 29) at 5:00 PM before wrapping with the much anticipated New Year’s Eve contest vs Russia, also at 5:00 PM.
Czech opened with a 2-1 OT win over the Swiss on Boxing Day, and will meet Russia on tonight (December 28), 5:00 PM for their game 2. After the Canada game tomorrow, Czech will wrap vs Denmark on New Year’s Eve afternoon.
Russia have also played just one game so far. They faced the Danes less than 17 hours after their roasting by Canada, and came away with a 4-0 win, scoring once in each of the first two periods, and finishing a pair in the third. After the Czech game tonight, they’ll play Switzerland Sunday, before the Canada game New Years Eve.
In Group B action at Save-on-Foods Arena in Victoria, the Swedes are the early leader, with a pair of wins, after downing Finland 2-1 in the opener on Boxing Day, then defeating Slovakia 5-2 last night. The Swedes face USA next on Saturday, before finishing vs Kazakhstan on New Years Day at 3:30.
USA opened with a 2-1 decision over Slovakia in their only outing so far, coming back with a pair of third period goals for the win. The Americans face Kazakhstan Friday night for their second game, before matching up against Sweden Saturday, and wrapping up vs Finland on New Year’s Eve.
The Finns downed Kazakhstan 5-0 in their second game, last night. They’ll face Slovakia Saturday, before the big New Year’s Eve matchup vs USA.
Game 1: Canada 14 – Denmark 0
In game one, captain Maxime Comtois (Longueuil, Drummondville – QMJHL) lead the offensive onslaught, tying an all-time Team Canada single game record of four goals, while Morgan Frost (Aurora, Salt. Ste. Marie – OHL) added a hat-trick and four assists.
Comtois, the lone returnee from the team that won gold a year ago in Buffalo, is the fifth Canadian to score four times in a single game at the World Juniors, joining Taylor Raddysh (2016), Brayden Schenn (2010), Simon Gagné (1999) and Mario Lemieux (1983).
“That’s why he’s the captain of the team,” Canadian coach Tim Hunter said. “He led in all aspects of the game tonight; around the puck, playing physical, getting pucks out, and then obviously the four goals.”
Canada lead 3-0 after the first on 15 shots, added five more in the second on 18 shots, and closed out with six in the third on 12 shots, to finish with a 45-14 shot count, and 14-0 score.Eighteen of 20 Canadian skaters recorded at least one point in the game.
In addition to the big games from Comtois and Frost, Brett Leason (Calgary, Prince Albert – WHL) had two goals and two assists, Cody Glass (Winnipeg, Portland- WHL) recorded four assists and Owen Tippett (Peterborough, Mississauga- OHL) scored twice.
Game 2: Canada 3 – Switzerland 2
It was a different story for Canada in game 2 Thursday night vs the Swiss, who are icing an experienced team with several returning players.
Canada opened with the lone goal in the first, from Cody Glass on the first shift of the game, only to see the Swiss answer back with a first shift goal of their own, just 46 seconds into the second on the powerplay.
MacKenzie Entwhistle (Georgetown, Hamilton-OHL) quickly put Canada back on top at 5:55, and then Noah Dobson (Summerside, Acadie-Bathurst-QMJHL) made it 3-1, scoring the eventual winner at 12:08 of the middle frame.
Switzerland’s Philipp Kurashev created some late game excitement after potting another power play goal with 1:49 left, but Canada would hang on to notch the win.
Akira Schmid stopped 29 of 32 for the Swiss, while Ian Scott made 15 saves for Canada – with both Swiss goals coming on the power play.
Puck drop for game 3 vs the Czechs is at 5:00 PM PST, Saturday, December 29.