Tuesday, April 27, 2004

More of a scrimmage than a game

Canada’s World Championship quest got back on track Tuesday, as the Canadian squad had little trouble taming the French team with a 3-0 victory.

With the pace of a controlled scrimmage Canada tested out line combinations and got J. S. Giguere a little goaltending practice, as the French squad provided little in the way of a threat. Giguere handled all 19 French shots with ease. The first period his most active as the French managed to get 9 shots on net, dropping to 3 in the second and 7 by the time the third period rolled around. The French who are back in the “A” pool for the first time since the 2000 Championships are not exactly an offensive threat, so far in the tournament they have been outscored 15-0 and hold a record of 0-3-0.

France rested Cristobol Huet of the LA Kings, for thier next game, the first of the regulation round which they need to win to stay in the "A" pool. For Canada they threw goaltender Fabrice Lhenry to the wolves. Fortunately for Lhenry the wolves weren’t particularly hungry; he faced 38 shots but only surrendered the three goals. He put on an admirable performance in support of an overmatched team. The French were on the short end of all facets of the game, hitting, shooting, scoring Canada controlled the flow of the game. Their only former NHLer was Sebastien Bordeleau who logged most of the ice time for the French, though he didn’t have much success against the Canadians.

Glen Murray got one goal for Canada and Shawn Horcoff put two behind Lhenry for the win as Canada gained revenge for the last match up between the two countries. The 1995 World Championships featured an upset 4-1 win by France over Canada. Canada at the time represented by minor league and European based professionals. There was never any danger of a similar embarrassment in this game.

While they take the win and improve their record, they need to increase the intensity level for tomorrow’s game against the Swiss. With goals in the first and second period, Canada coasted through the third period registering only 9 shots on net after marking 17 and 12 shots on goal in the first two periods. While it may be that they were playing more of a defensive shell in the third it was more likely that they lost interest in the game by the third. Such was nature of the flow of the game, end to end it wasn’t. That is unless you count the shifting of bodies from one end of the bench to the other waiting their turn to go out for a skate.

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