To not overstate it, however Canada’s win over Germany was due to the hit heard all over the world.
Canada, in its first recreation of the 2022 Beijing Olympic Winter Video games, rode the bodily intimidation of its vitality line on its option to a 5-1 win over Germany on the Wukesong Sports activities Centre on Thursday.
Bolstered by the information that head coach Claude Julien would return behind the bench for its subsequent recreation, Canada had a stable offensive effort in opposition to the nation that spoiled its gold-medal hopes with a semi-final upset in 2018 in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
This is what it’s essential to know concerning the Canada-Germany recreation on Thursday:
1. First, we have now to speak concerning the hit
The Canadian status within the worldwide hockey group as being bodily can generally be value a aim even earlier than the puck is dropped, but it surely did not appear to be within the minds of the aggressively checking Germans.
Till it was.
After some pretty balanced back-and-forth within the early going, Canada dumped the puck into the German zone. Chasing it alongside the boards, heading towards the play, Canada’s Eric O’Dell broke by the German ahead’s decide and, at full velocity, completely steamrolled defenceman Marco Nowak, who was skating in his path behind the web and searching down on the puck as he tried to clear it up the boards. With Nowak down on all fours behind the web attempting to reboot, the puck made its option to Canada’s Alex Grant on the level. Grant fired residence a wrister previous somehow-stickless German goalie Mathias Niederberger to make it 1-0 simply 4:33 into the sport.
After watching their teammate get rocked — the hit echoed loudly within the largely vacant enviornment — the Germans performed with that tentative half-glance up whereas taking or making passes, plus fell into the behavior of a fast puck launch each time listening to Canadian footsteps. This resulted in a much less aggressive assault and breakout for the primary interval.
2. Depth is the reply
Appropriately, the pre-game hype (albeit muted in contrast with what it could have been had the NHL gamers participated) centered on the recognized names of Canada’s massive line of Mason McTavish-Eric Staal-Josh Ho-Sang. However the depth strains generated a lot of the key offence for Canada, scoring three targets inside a 5:36-minute span within the first interval to storm Canada out to the 3-0 lead.
After Grant’s wrister, which he assisted on, third-liner Ben Road fired residence a nifty one-timer from the faceoff dot over Niederberger’s shoulder at 9:47 to make it 2-0. O’Dell and Kent Johnston, the third member of that vitality line, drew assists.
Then, lower than a minute later, former Toronto Maple Leaf Daniel Winnik one-timed the broad move off a 2-on-1 at 10:19 to present Canada three targets on six pictures. Linemates David Desharnais and Adam Cracknell, the opposite two-thirds of what’s successfully Canada’s fourth line, drew assists.
“It was good to get that begin,” Road stated on TV in the course of the second intermission.
However Canada will want extra offence from its massive two strains, particularly the highest line of McTavish-Staal-Ho-Sang, if it desires to push forward to a gold medal.
Different scoring got here when, a mere seven seconds right into a Canadian energy play, the rocket-launcher slap shot by Max Noreau zinged contained in the publish low to the blocker aspect to spice up it to a 4-1 lead. With the aim, Noreau prolonged his Olympic Video games factors streak to seven video games.
Jordan Weal scored Canada’s fifth aim, firing high shelf whereas just about untouched within the slot, at 11:22 of the third.
3. Not so quick with the vitality factor
One warning you may hear from coaches when speaking about so-called vitality strains: do not take silly penalties.
Canada’s third and fourth strains fell into that lure. Cannot make an omelette for those who do not break any eggs, proper? However penalties by Winnik, Road, Ho-Sang and Weal within the first two intervals may have left Canada scrambling had they been taken in opposition to a extra offensive-minded workforce. The primary two penalties particularly, to Winnik and Road, are the chance realized of energy-line ways, particularly when the European referees are generally, uh, predisposed to penalize Canadians they understand as being extra soiled than bodily.
4. Energy passes one other audition
Buffalo Sabres 2021 No. 1 decide Owen Energy deftly confirmed why he is thought-about the perfect participant not within the NHL along with his poise, talent and endurance on one other massive stage. He is very clean with the puck, not panicking, even calmly clearing a unfastened puck within the second interval that fluttered within the crease with the rating 4-1. Energy strikes effectively for an enormous man, extra Victor Hedman than Chris Pronger, though he has cited the latter as an affect.
And, because the No. 1 defenceman on the workforce, he’ll proceed to get the most important share of ice time. Within the first interval alone in opposition to Germany, he performed greater than seven minutes over 14 shifts and total performed a team-high 19:33.
He is not afraid to leap into the play, identical to stellar NHLer Cale Makar, and would have had a aim whereas taking part in down low late within the second interval if it hadn’t been for a highlight-reel save by Niederberger.
5. Subsequent recreation can be key
Enjoying Germany first ought to put Canada in a very good place for its subsequent matchup, which is in opposition to the at all times harmful United States on Friday at 11:10 p.m. ET.
The Individuals are bringing a younger, and subsequently quick, roster, and are coming off an enormous 8-0 win over host China within the different preliminary spherical Group A recreation on Thursday.
If Canada had first confronted China, the weakest workforce within the event, it stood an opportunity of being dominated by Group USA. However the tight-checking Germans, who got here out aggressively within the second, a lot to their credit score, will arrange the Canadians effectively in opposition to the attacking Individuals.
5. Random bits of knowledge it’s best to know
Edward Pasquale of Toronto, one of many high goalies within the KHL whereas taking part in for Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, was regular however probably not examined. He confronted 24 pictures, however a mere eight within the third interval. … Tobias Rieder had Germany’s aim at 10:45 of the second interval off a fats rebound and too many Canadian gamers down low. … Ten gamers on Germany have been on the workforce that upset Canada in 2018 in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and went on to earn silver in opposition to the Russians. … Due to COVID restrictions and journey, Canada did not have an actual pre-tournament recreation, simply a casual scrimmage with the Individuals.
Canada’s lineup vs. Germany:
Mason McTavish-Eric Staal-Josh Ho-Sang
Adam Tambellini-Jordan Weal-Corba Knight
Ben Road-Eric O’Dell-Kent Johnson
Daniel Winnik-David Desharnais-Adam Cracknell
Owen Energy-Mat Robinson
Tyler Wotherspoon-Max Noreau
Mark Barberio-Jason Demers
Scratched: Devon Levi, Morgan Ellis, Landon Ferraro