WJHC: Canada’s Loss To Russia Brings Questions
With Canada up by a score of 3-0 entering the third period, few hockey fans were giving Russia any kind of chance of beating the mighty Canadians, who, while not perfect through 40 minutes, had dominated the Russians to that point.
Artemi Panarin and Maxim Kitsyn scored just 13 seconds apart to start the third period and, by the 04:56 mark of the third the Russians had tied the game at three, stunning the almost all-Canadian crowd and the nation in the process.
After Russia tied the game, Canada looked to have lost a step, lost it’s ‘mojo’ and, in some people’s minds, just plain stopped skating. Inevitably, Russia outplayed the Canadians, went ahead for the first time in the game and with 1:16 to play in the third period, put the nail in the coffin, getting their fifth goal past Canadian goaltender Mark Visentin, for the stunning 5-3 win.
Whether Canada lost it’s momentum, the Russian’s took over, the Canadians stopped skating, Russia found it’s game- pick your poison, Canada just flat out got beat in their own building (well, sorta) by a better team, end of story.
We can question Canada’s head coach Dave Cameron for not taking a timeout after Russia scored those two quick goals, we can question the goaltending of Visentin, in the end, this was a team effort throughout the tournament, good or bad, Canada won as a team and lost as a team, that’s just how it goes.
Canada would emerge with a 38-27 edge in shots on goal, demonstrating just how dominant they were in the first two periods, but the score dictates they will take home a silver medal for the second consecutive year, leading many to question Canada’s program yet again.
The reality is, as horrible as last nights loss was, Canada has still made the gold medal final an astounding ten years in a row, collecting five gold’s (in a row) and five silver medals along the way.
The biggest disappointment throughout the tournament had to be Canada’s goaltending. Olivier Roy was horrible against Sweden, which forced Canada to play a semi-final game against the United States, a game that may have taken its toll in the physical department against Russia. That said, the way Russia ramped their game up in the third period, I am not so sure any goaltender would have faired much better than Mark Visentin did.
Two of the biggest bright spots in recent memory for Canada were forward Brayden Schenn who tied Dale McCourt’s tournament record (an accomplishment he achieved in 1977) for points with 18, earning him tournament MVP. Defenseman Ryan Ellis, who was instrumental in a number of Canada’s wins, earned the nod as the tournaments best defenseman.
Schenn, Ellis and Canadian forward Ryan Johansen were all elected to the tournament all-star team, of which all three should be very proud.
Going forward, there are still plenty of questions for Canada. They have a full year to figure it all out and revenge is only 12 months away.
Until next time,