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World Juniors: Canada defeats Germany and qualifies for the quarter-finals without convincing

World Juniors: Canada defeats Germany and qualifies for the quarter-finals without convincing

GOTHENBURG, Sweden — Team Canada advanced to the quarterfinals of the World Junior Hockey Championship, but it didn't reassure anyone. It is becoming increasingly difficult to be optimistic about the future.

A 6-3 win over Germany gave the Canadians the key to the medal round. Goals from Jordan Dumais and MacLean Celebrini provided a frenetic side in the third period. Easton Cowan decorated the picture by scoring into an empty net.

The suspense continued until the 57th minute of the match, when Celebrini took advantage of a bad exit from the German goalkeeper to score his second goal of the evening, the insurance goal. It wasn't supposed to be this close for this long, but neither player seemed to mind as he appeared in front of the cameras and microphones.

“I don't think we were nervous,” Matthew Poitras said, recalling the last 20-game standoff. We knew we would score a goal or two. We have them under control. I think it was only a matter of time. »

“Certainly in a game like this, 3-3, we want to score, we want to win. We can't lose it actually,” Maverick Lamoureux offered. “But I think we had so much confidence in our team that we knew things would go our way, especially since we dominated Over the entire match.”

With its second-place finish in Group A, Canada has scheduled a one-match match with the Czech Republic on January 2. The Czech Republic ranked third in the other table with two wins, one loss, and another loss on penalties. This latest result, obtained against the United States, gives reason to believe Canada could get its money's worth in its next appearance in Scandinavia.

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His recent performance was not convincing. Most of the crutches that this Canadian team has relied on to explain its failures since the beginning of the tournament have resurfaced in this disappointing demonstration.

“It might be good to face a little adversity.”

Captain Fraser Minten repeated that line after the loss to Sweden, believing it was buffer experience for potential pitfalls in the medal round. The same morning, coach Alain Letang added the hope that his group would meet from the first throw-in. He expected the first five or ten minutes of this match to be very important for us.

Connor Geekie may have misunderstood the meaning of the message. In the 10th second of the match, the colorful striker put a spoke in the wheels of the big red machine by illegally hitting defender Samuel Schindler. He was sent off, forcing the Canadiens to finish the game with eleven forwards since the injured Mathieu Savoie was removed from the lineup.

“I don't think we agreed with the decision,” Celebrini said transparently. But the referees made their decision and we had to move on. We can't let it affect us and lose control of the match. »

“I guess it wasn't actually five [minutes]Lamoureux echoed. It's just that Geekie is a big guy, the defender was small and he got picked. But starting the game the same way when you know it's not five minutes, it sucks. »

The uncertainty surrounding Savoie's availability combined with the hypothetical possibility of Geekie's suspension could create an uncomfortable situation for Canadian decision-makers heading into the quarterfinals. Do you want some adversity?

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“We have to be more disciplined”

The consequences could have been much more serious, but Geke's brain spasm allowed Germany to score first on points. Julian Lutz beats Matisse Rousseau with a long shot.

Brayden Yager tied the game before the end of the period after a sequence in which Menten may have been lucky, his stick hitting a German player in the face without the officials taking any action.

The Germans regained the lead with another power play early in the second half, with Noah Warren in the box, and tied the game in the same conditions during a secondary brace on Dumais shortly after Owen Beck's goal in the third.

A team whose leaders played the importance of discipline from day one played with fire.

“Men lack chemistry”

The Maple Leaf representatives generated more scoring chances than they needed to to destroy an opponent of Germany's caliber. They held a 25-8 lead on shots at the target post after two periods. In the same sample, they may have directed a similar number of goals. Collusion among its members, grouped into new triads, was not a problem. Lack of opportunism was one of these reasons.

Stupid puck losses, missed shots in front of spaced cages, pass attempts with a low probability of success, useless tape entering the zone… the defending champions are, to an inexplicable degree, having difficulty running key games.

“After the second period, we focused on the irritants that we considered important to address,” Letang said. The second we felt the frustration growing on the bench. Players were asked to stay the course. Blocked shots, missed opportunities, bad jumps, we can't control that. But we decide whether we cheat or not, and we decide whether we manage possession well. The consequences of such mistakes can multiply tenfold in the quarterfinals against a more talented team. »

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The coach couldn't have said it better.

It happened against Germany. It may not work next time.