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

Moms of those killed by illicit opioids take to B.C. Legislature in call for action

Moms Stop the Harm, a nationwide network of families who have lost loved ones to overdoses rally

Trudeau announces bioregional oceans protection agreement in Prince Rupert

Agreement announced in partnership with 14 central and north coast First Nations

115 new wildfires burning across B.C. due to 19,000 lightning strikes

More fires expected to start today, says BC Wildfire Service officials

Local artist Danika Naccarella commissioned to design artwork for Northern Sea Wolf

The Sea Wolf symbolizes family, loyalty and the protection of those travelling their waters.

‘Daddy bonus’ common in B.C. workplaces, study finds

UBC researchers say dads don’t have to be number one in the office to get a raise

VIDEO: Canadian toddler caught practising hockey skills in crib

Eli Graveline is getting praise from far and wide as the internet freaks out of cute throwback video

Man shot dead in Surrey ID’d as hockey coach and father of two

Murder of Paul Bennett – a respected Peace Arch Hospital worker and ‘champion of sport’ – ‘not random’

Serial killer Robert Pickton transferred to Quebec: victim’s family

Pickton was convicted in December 2007 of six counts of second degree murder

Canadian Syrian children’s choir not to attend festival over fears about U.S. travel

Many kids are recent immigrants from countries covered by Trump travel ban

B.C. teacher ends Jeopardy! winning streak, taking home US$69,000

Ali Hasan, from New Westminster, has been gaining fans as a “one-man invasion,” says Alex Trebek

Jett Woo highlights 5 Canucks choices on Day 2 of NHL entry draft

WHL star out of Moose Jaw tabbed in Round 2

In a matter of hours, women in Saudi Arabia will be allowed to drive

Change was announced as a royal decree in 2017 by Crown Prince Mohammen bin Salman

Feds announce measures to protect endangered whale species

Canada’s Whale Initiative is part of the federal government’s $1.5 billion Ocean Protection Plan

Most Read