Crew Canada had their talent on full show for the world to witness of their 6-Four victory over america on Thursday. It wasn’t an ideal efficiency, but it surely obtained the job carried out due to phenomenal play from their stars.
The basic rivalry between Crew Canada and Crew USA lived as much as expectations with a backwards and forwards tilt. Leads modified a number of instances and each groups needed to battle again from two-goal deficits but it surely was Canada’s 4 straight targets within the second interval that set the tone for immediately’s 6-Four victory.
Alexis Lafreniere Proving His Price
Expectations for Alexis Lafreniere, the presumptive No. 1 total choose in 2020’s draft class, have been excessive getting into the event. What wasn’t anticipated was him to steer the Canadians as their high participant, but he did precisely that in immediately’s tilt towards america.
Lafreniere showcased his confidence with the puck, particularly on his game-winning objective with simply three minutes left within the contest. When america had momentum going their approach, Lafreniere learn Ok’Andre Miller’s ill-advised go like a ebook, batted it out of mid-air and out-waited Spencer Knight for a stunning objective that each one however sealed Canada’s tournament-opening victory.
Get used to Alexis Lafreniere stealing the highlight for Crew Canada. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Codie McLachlan)
Together with the objective, the 18-year-old had three assists for a four-point night time. He arrange Barrett Hayton on two separate power-play targets together with one the place he dangled his approach into the slot, dedicated no less than two United States defenders, then offloaded to Hayton for a one-timer on the half boards. The person effort of Lafreniere via the sport was a spectacle to see. If he can proceed to play at even half this tempo, we’ll be watching a very particular participant emerge earlier than our eyes.
Up-and-Down Efficiency from Particular Groups
Crew Canada struggled to remain out of the field early within the contest, costing them two targets via the primary 20 minutes. The US’ greatest power is their deadly energy play, but the Canadians nonetheless must be higher on the penalty kill. They usually collapsed too early and gave their opponent far an excessive amount of house.
Defenseman have been taking place too early, giving america much more time to seek out open house. Nick Robertson utilized that precise situation to his benefit as he was in a position to sneak a cross-crease go proper underneath a defenseman, and Shane Pinto buried his second of the night time. Going ahead, the Canadians must be extra disciplined on their stick play and have a lot extra strain on the penalty kill.
Barrett Hayton has advanced right into a particular groups connoisseur. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Nevertheless, the Canadians did flourish on the opposite aspect of particular groups. Their energy play was clicking all through the competition, going Three-for-Four with two targets from Hayton and one from Nolan Foote. They moved the puck exceptionally nicely and did a wonderful job at collapsing america defensemen earlier than shifting the puck to the skin. The primary power-play unit is wanting like a dominant power because the event continues.
Dominated 5-on-5 Play
Regardless of trailing on the finish of 20 minutes, the Canadians made it crystal clear that they might not lose the sport resulting from their even-strength play. The protection labored particularly nicely at even power, surrendering a single five-on-five objective in immediately’s contest. Jacob Bernard-Docker and Kevin Bahl have been a wonderful shutdown pairing via the competition.
Kevin Bahl ought to be logging heavy minutes for Crew Canada all through the WJC. (Terry Wilson / OHL Photos)
Regardless of solely having a single help, Joseph Veleno was a outstanding power on each side of the puck. His 20:15 time on ice and 4 pictures on objective have been team-highs within the contest. The Detroit Crimson Wings prospect was particularly profitable within the dot, successful 7 of his 12 faceoffs. Head coach Dale Hunter has boatloads of confidence within the Veleno – Lafreniere – Foote line. Count on the threesome to be featured closely because the event progresses.
What’s Subsequent For Crew Canada?
Crew Canada has a day without work earlier than they’re again in motion on Dec. 28 towards a Russian squad that’s nonetheless on the lookout for their first win of the event. Crew Russia dedicated eight penalties towards the Czech Republic – in the event that they proceed that very same pattern towards Canada, it may rapidly flip right into a taking pictures gallery for Lafreniere and Co.