2013 World Juniors Report (Day 3)

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Yesterday I wrote about the comments made by Nail Yakupov when he called the Canadians a dirty team. I laid out the reasons to why the Canadians may be perceived as a dirty team but are actually just playing a different style of game. Of course only a few hours late the Canadians would take the ice against the Slovakians in a game that was built to be the upset of the tournament. As the Slovaks got out to an early 2-0 lead the Canadians would begin to prove Nail Yakupov’s accusations. The first period would see JC Lipon skate behind the net and lay a big hit on a Slovakian player. The hit was clearly a bad hit where Lipon lifted his arm at the last second making contact with the head of Tomas Mikus. Lipon would get a 5 minute major and a game misconduct for the a hit to the head ending his game. Then in the second period it would happen again as Anthony Camara would run through Patrik Luza. Luza would be taken off on a stretcher and despite no penalty called immediately after the hit Camara’s game would also end. Camara would receive a 5 minute major and game misconduct for charging as he would join Lipon in the locker room. The two hits would be proof for many that Canada is clearly dirty as they had two bad hits in one game. It only added to the penalty problems for Canada who are already one player short after Boone Jenner was suspended three games for his hit in the pre-tournament game. As these two hits took place both players would be taken off the ice and that means that suspensions are likely on their way from the IIHF. The more suspensions the Canadians get the dirtier they begin to look and Nail Yakupov looks to be right about how the Canadians play. Still the Canadians are not entirely dirty players as these hits are not entirely good proof for the theory. The Lipon hit is indefensible as Lipon clearly made contact with the head and deserved the penalty. If Lipon had not lifted his arm at the last second to make contact with the head there may have still been a penalty but it would not have been deserved. Lipon came in with a clean hit but the last second change is what made it a bad hit and deserves a suspension. Camara’s hit is another story though as it was a clean hit with incidental contact to the head. The penalty is proof that the difference between European hockey and North American hockey is very big. Camara is known as a big hitter and in the CHL when he is on the ice the opponents know that he is on the ice. This forces opponents to keep their head on a swivel to figure out where he is to make sure they can avoid or brace for a big hit. In European hockey there are rarely any players like that and so Patrik Luza was not aware of the fact that Camara was coming after him. With his head down looking for the puck Luza would be hit hard and was clearly hurt after the hit. The reason for the injury was simply the fact that Camara got a clean big hit on an unprepared player. When Camara did connect on the hit he also made some contact with the head but in the CHL it would have been seen as incidental contact as Camara was hitting the body and the head came into him through the force of the impact. The IIHF will likely not see it this way and will use this to justify a suspension for Camara despite a great hit. The game would be a clear example of the difference of the two styles of hockey and unfortunately the European style is what is followed in the IIHF. That means that a team like Canada can come off as dirty and for many the Slovakian game is proof of the way the Canadians play. For others it is an example of the style of play and what can happen when one team is not careful to change their style to suit the tournament and the other team is not ready for a different style of play. Yes the Canadians will likely be down three players when they take on the USA and that will come off as dirty but it is more than that as it is simply proof that a team is finding it hard to adjust to a new style of game.

 

Scores:
Czech Republic 3 – 1 Finland
– It is the biggest upset of the tournament so far as the Fins seemed to be on their way to a great tournament and could be challenging for a medal but they would hit a big speed bump when the Czechs got ahead early and shut down a great offence

Canada 6 – 3 Slovakia
– The Canadians went down early against the upset kings who looked like they would pull off another great performance but the Canadians would not give up as they scored 4 goals in the second period to go ahead and would add to the lead in the third to remain undefeated

Sweden 3 – 2 Switzerland (SO)
– The Swedes were not their dominant selves in this game as the Swiss proved to be a good opponent forcing the Swedes into a shootout where Victor Rask would score the only goal to lift the Swedes to a shootout win

Russia 2 – 1 USA
– In one of the biggest games so far in the tournament the USA would take on the host Russians in a very important game for both teams but it was the Russians who would recover from a close call in their first game to beat the Americans with a late goal in the 3rd period

 

Standings: 

Pool A:
1. Sweden (5)
2. Switzerland (4)
3. Finland (3)
4. Czech Republic (3)
5. Latvia (0)

 

Pool B:
1. Canada (6)
2. Russia (5)
3. USA (3)
4. Slovakia (1)
5. Germany (0)

 

Day 4:
Latvia vs. Sweden (Saturday December 29th; 7:00 am EST)
– Latvia is essentially out of the tournament already as they will likely have to go through relegation but they will still try to make life difficult against the Swedes who will try to gain some confidence after a close call against Switzerland

Germany vs. Russia (Saturday December 29th; 9:00 am EST)
– The Russians should have had one easy game in their first match but it was far from easy as they hope to make life easier on themselves against the Germans who have yet to win a game in the tournament and are likely heading to the relegation round

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