Canada’s Sam Steel, centre, skates with goalie Carter Hart, right, and Jordan Kyrou, left, during team practice at the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship in Buffalo, N.Y., Monday, January 1, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Blinch

Canada takes on Switzerland in quarterfinal matchup

Healthy roster, mind games and Steenbergen all things to look for v. Switzerland

Canada finished first in Group A at the world junior hockey championship, setting up a quarterfinal matchup against Switzerland on Tuesday afternoon. Here are three things to know heading into the game.

100 PER CENT HEALTHY — Injuries, especially to Canada’s defensive corps, have been an ongoing issue, but head coach Dominique Ducharme insists that his roster is totally healthy for Tuesday’s game. Canada has been helped by having two days off ahead of the world junior playoffs and Ducharme was able to rest banged up players for whole periods in an 8-0 rout of Denmark on Saturday. Everyone but defenceman Victor Mete practised on Monday afternoon and Ducharme says Mete just needed an extra day off.

“It’s important to be able to come into the quarters like this, and to be healthy like we are,” said Ducharme. “We’re 100 per cent right now. We’ll be 100 per cent when we start the game.”

HEAD GAMES — Swiss head coach Christian Wohlwend said he expects Canada to easily beat his team in the quarterfinals. In a televised interview, he listed all the ways Canada is superior to Switzerland, including their seven first-round NHL picks and an 8-1 Canadian victory in a pre-tournament exhibition less than a week before the world juniors began. Canadian captain Dillon Dube thinks Wohlwend is just employing psychological warfare.

“I think he’s obviously trying to send a message to his team, he must have said something to them,” said Dube. “I think that’s why he said that we dominated them in the exhibition. They’re going to come out trying to catch us sleeping so that’s why we really have to focus on our game and know what to expect, they’re going to come out hard.”

SECRET WEAPON — Canada’s junior team has struggled in the shootout the past two years. They have had no goals in nine attempts over the past two tournaments, leading to losses against the United States twice. On Monday, Canada worked on shootout moves at practice and 13th forward Tyler Steenbergen stood out. Rarely earning minutes except on the power play, he is an offensive specialist with 35 goals and 26 assists in 27 games for the Western Hockey League’s Swift Current Broncos.

“I think the best, for me, just the most calm was Steenbergen,” said Dube when asked who the best skater was in the shootout. “He just walked in there and shot everything and everything hit his target. It was impressive.”

___

John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

UPDATE: 5 injured in plane crash following Abbotsford International Airshow

One in critical condition in incident involving vintage plane

Shag Creek area under evacuation order, area expanded

93 properties are being told to evacuate immediately

B.C. Wildfires 2018: Thousands prepare to leave their homes at a moment’s notice

Northwest B.C. and Cariboo seeing most fire activity in province as crews battle 490 fires

UPDATED: Evacuation alerts due to Chutanli Lake Fire expanded; Shag Creek area put on alert

40 properties on alert due to Chutanli Lake Fire; 17 due to Shag Creek

Average Canadian family spends 43% of income on taxes: study

Fraser Institute’s consumer report shows taxes accounting for larger chunk of income each year

RCMP to search for body after man drowns in B.C.’s Buntzen Lake

Officers and fire crews responded but the man from the Lower Mainland is believed to have drowned.

Police chiefs call for stricter controls on pill presses to fight opioids

Canada’s police chiefs are urging Ottawa to beef up its fight against the opioid scourge by closely vetting people who import pill presses

Hot, dry conditions forces drought rating to highest level on Vancouver Island

The province says Vancouver Island is under Stage 4 drought conditions

Victoria police say explicit calls continue to target women

Over 50 reports of unwanted, sexually explicit calls have come in

‘It’s like a party in your mouth’

B.C. creator’s Milkshake Burger makes its debut at the PNE

Get involved in the Great Canadian Bumble Bee Count

Environmental organization develops app to help with the nationwide count

Pesticides linked to bee deaths will be phased out in Canada, sources say

Neonicotinoids, or neonics, are a class of pesticides used by farmers and hobby gardeners alike

Most Read