Canada advances to World Juniors semi-finals past Swiss

Playing the third of four games on the much-used Rogers Place ice surface probably didn’t help either, as Canada left Switzerland hanging out

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Given that the 2022 World Junior Hockey Championships was moved to August, where players had been off the ice for weeks, Canada can be excused for appearing a bit sloppy in the quarter-finals against Switzerland.

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Playing the third of four games on the much-maligned Rogers Place ice probably didn’t help either, as Canada left Switzerland hanging out in a 6-3 win in front of about half a bowl full of fans.

“I thought it was choppy; I thought we didn’t have that much energy and I felt we weren’t executing fast enough,” said Canada head coach Dave Cameron. “I thought we were bringing pucks back instead of going north, which led to our success against the other teams.

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“But it’s a dreaded quarter-final when you play against a team that has nothing to lose; you have to give them credit, they came to us and they made it interesting, but we found a way.”

With the win, Canada will advance to likely Finland in the semifinals on Friday. The United States, who played the Czech Republic in the last game of the day, are expected to play against Sweden in the other semi-final.

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“It’s huge for us to be in the semi-finals,” said Canadian striker Logan Stankoven, who had two goals and an assist in the win. “We’re just going to take it game by game, there are only six periods left for us, hopefully if all goes well in the semi-finals. There is of course a lot of work to do there, and we will certainly have a lot of work to do.”

Canada played its fifth game of the tournament, playing Switzerland, scoring on the first shot, 67 seconds into the game.

Tyson Foerster, a Philadelphia Flyers prospect, took a pass from Stankoven into the right face-off circle and fired past Swiss goalkeeper Noah Patenaude, who had just nine shots before getting the hook.

Simon Knak, a sixth-round pick of the Nashville Predators in the 2021 NHL Draft, made it 1-1 just over a minute later, tipping a point shot from defender Brian Zanetti, past Dylan Garand, which ended with 23 saves. .

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“It was great there, we didn’t have any pressure on us, because all the pressure was on them,” said Knak. “It was great to play for those fans, it was definitely something special.”

Jack Thompson scored to give Canada a 2-1 lead at 12:31, taking advantage of a lucky bounce on the skate from Swiss defender Maximilian Streule, trying to block a shot by Ronan Seeley from the left face-off circle.

The puck bounced off to Thompson at the right face-off circle and he shoved it into the open end of the net past Patenaude.

Stankoven, last season’s CHL Player of the Year, made it 3-1 two minutes later, benefiting from a miscarriage by Swiss defender Nick Meile, who mishandled the puck.

Stank Furnace took the gift from the right wall and fired a shot that hit the crossbar, but bounced back to him for an easy tap.

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“I thought he jumped a lot, he flew over there,” Canadian captain Mason McTavish said. “You could tell from the first shift he was going and his linemates were feeding him out there. He’s a great player and I’m not surprised to say the least.”

Nathan Gaucher extended the lead to 4-1 with three minutes remaining in the period when he caught a puck wide of Patenaude’s path on a shot by Elliot Desnoyers.

Swiss national coach Marco Bayer had seen enough after the goal and gave his goalkeeper the hook after nine shots, allowing Kevin Pasche to do better.

Pasche stopped 30 of the 31 shots he encountered.

“We had to do something at that point, we lost 4-1,” said Bayer. “It was more about changing the momentum of the game and giving the boys a break. Our other keeper came in and played well. That’s sports; sometimes you are good and sometimes you have to change something.”

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At that point it should have been game, set and match for Canada, but they opened the door for Switzerland.

Joshua Fahrhi managed to dig the puck out of the corner away from two Canadians and set up Attilio Biasca, who dodged two defenders up front. Biasca fired a shot past Garland to narrow the lead to 4-2 with 8.2 seconds left in the period.

Will Cuylle regained the three-goal lead in 4:20 in the second, taking a cross-ice pass from Olen Zellweger and moving the puck short side to Pasche.

Biasca scored again and narrowed the lead to 5-3 three and a half minutes later, when she jumped onto a pizza served on a platter by Canadian defender Donovan Sebrango.

The Detroit Red Wings prospect rolled a backhand pass through its own slot where Biasca grabbed it and slashed it past Garand.

Stank oven put the game on ice with an empty goal with 1:09 left in the game.

“In part of that game things didn’t go the way we wanted, but I thought we were fighting back and we had found a way to win and that’s all that matters at the end of the day,” Seeley said. “I don’t know if you can point to one thing that went wrong, but we held on and won.”

Loose pucks… Canada forward Ridly Greig left the game in the first period and did not return. Cameron said he did not know the Greig’s status and that he would be re-evaluated on Thursday.

Email: dvandiest@postmedia.com

On Twitter: @DerekVanDiest

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