The second game of the tournament for Team Canada saw them taking on Switzerland. Following the blowout last night, fans had high expectations heading into tonight's contest.
Everyone remembers the Swiss Head Coach from his infamous press conference last year, when he stated his team had "no chance" against the "bigger, faster, stronger, better" Canadian squad. He was right, as Canada dominated them 8-2. This year though, he said they would likely be able to Canada a good game, and that they did.
The night started similar to the prior night, as Canada found the scoresheet very early. 36 seconds in, a strong play along the boards from Maxime Comtois freed up a puck for Nick Suzuki, who curled down low and fed Cody Glass with a nice hook pass. Glass made no mistake and got Canada on the board with a crisp one-timer.
The pace slowed however, and when the buzzer sounded to end the 1st frame, the scoreboard still read just 1-0.
Starting the period on a powerplay, the Swiss found the back of the net, tying the game up.
Leafs prospect Ian Scott, starting his first game in the Canadian net, made a gigantic save 5 minutes into the period, as the Swiss walked right down broadway and fired a sharp wrister from the slot. Following Scott's big save, MacKenzie Entwhistle, the proclaimed "13th forward" scored for Canada. Shane Bowers drew the lone assist, feeding Entwhistle from behind the goal line. 2-1 Canada.
Canada stepped the pressure back up, and Noah Dobson, one of only 2 players who did not register a point against Denmark, burst through the neutral zone a few minutes later, taking a nice chip pass from Barrett Hayton, beat the defenceman wide, and slid it five-hole. 3-1 Canada after the conclusion of 2 periods.
Canada had numerous powerplay opportunities in the 3rd, but were unable to capitalize on any. A lack of clean zone entries killed them, as they spent majority of each of powerplay retrieving the puck from their own zone.
The Swiss powerplay on the other hand was impressive, as with 2 minutes to play in the game, Philipp Kurashev scored his 2nd powerplay marker of the night, bringing the Swiss within 1.
A slew of soft penalty calls ensued in the final minutes of the 3rd, however Canada was able to fend off the late push from the Swiss.
3-2 was the final score, as Canada improved to 2-0-0-0 on the tournament.
Barrett Hayton won player of the game for Team Canada (surprisingly) and Kurashev won it for Team Switzerland, following his 2 powerplay goals.
Canada has Friday off, before taking on the Czech's on Saturday night. Mikey Dipietro is expected to be back between the pipes, despite a strong game from Ian Scott.
I did not love the Canadian powerplay tonight. The last 4 teams to win the tournament have all had the best powerplay percentage. If Canada hopes to continue this trend, they better start cleaning up their zone entries, and making smarter cross ice passes, with a little less shooting urgency from the outside.
Morgan Frost was very quiet after a strong performance in game 1. A happy medium would be good for Canada, as secondary scoring, especially from someone as skilled as Frost, is key to success in these short tournaments.
Cody Glass was great again, making several shifty plays and creating chances with his skating and elite passing skills. Vegas fans should be excited about him.
Ian Mitchell turned in another strong performance. He was the only name I did not know heading into selection camp, but has really impressed me thus far. He is mobile, loves to reverse the puck to his partner when the opposition only sends one fore-checker, and is very solid positionally.
The Czech's will be a tougher match-up on Saturday, and their top 2 lines will pose majority of the offensive threat for them. They have Martin Necas and Martin Kaut on the top line, 2 very skilled players who feed off each other nicely, as well as Filip Zadina who drives play himself on the 2nd line. It will be interesting to see who Canada matches up will them, as they have not had to line match too seriously yet in the tournament.