Thursday, December 30, 2010
WJC TODAY - 12-30-10
Finally, Saint John Sea Dogs defenseman Simon Despres picked up his first point at the 2011 World Junior Hockey Championship. Despres assisted on Sean Couturier’s third period tally in Canada’s 10-1 rout over Norway last night at the HSBC Arena in Buffalo.
The Sea Dogs defenseman was the last player on Canada’s roster to earn a point at the world juniors.
With three injured players and one suspended for Canada, several persons would have to step up. Luckily, their opponent hardly gave Canada a test and now have a day off to recover for the final game of the preliminary round against Sweden Friday.
Despres saw a bit of ice time in just about every situation. He almost had two assists as he sent a bullet pass to Brett Connolly in the second period that sprung the Prince George Cougar on a breakaway but was stopped by the Norwegian netminder.
Canada held a 6-1 advantage after 20-minutes but were somehow outshot by Norway, 16-15. Things slowed down in the middle frame as Canada scored just one. But in the third, the Canadians scored three to take the game by score of 10-1.
Los Angeles Kings prospect Brayden Schenn was in beast mode all night, scoring four goals and tying a Canadian world junior record for goals in a game. Surprisingly, Erik Gudbranson was named the player of the game for Canada, forcing the arena into a universal state of shock. Pierre McGuire was close to crying on air.
Along with Schenn’s four goals, Gubranson had a pair while singles came from Casey Cizikas, Louis Leblanc, Marcus Foligno, and Couturier. Goaltender Mark Visentin made 31 saves in the game.
Canada plays their final game of the preliminary round Friday at 5:00 pm AST against the powerful Swedes in what should be an excellent test for both clubs. TSN’s coverage begins at 4:30 pm.
The Canadian juniors will be without Zack Kassian who was suspended an additional game by the International Ice Hockey Federation following his illegal hit Wednesday against the Czech Republic. Players who were injured yesterday include Cody Eakin, Jaden Schwartz, and Calvin de Haan.
Unless the Czechs pull off an unlikely win over the Swedes tonight, tomorrow’s game will likely see two 3-0 teams do battle with the winner taking Group A.
Acadie-Bathurst Titan goaltender Olivier Roy is expected to start his third game of the tournament tomorrow.
Tomas Jurco and the 1-1 Slovaks face Switzerland this afternoon at 4:00 pm AST at HSBC Arena. Tomorrow, Team Slovakia will play Finland.
The squad is coming off a 6-1 loss to the Americans where Jurco scored the lone Slovakian goal.