Friday, May 07, 2004

Dany Heatley's FINNISHing touch

It’s a familiar script for Team Canada at the World Championships, as once again Canada used Overtime in a quarterfinal game to move on in the tournament.

Dany Heatley scored his second goal of the game five minutes into overtime to lead the Canadians to a 5-4 victory over a hard working Finnish team. Trailing at three separate times in the game the Canadians battled back from an early 2-0 deficit to send the game to over time in the middle stages of the third period. Steve Staois tying the game at 6:02, setting the stage for Heatley’s tournament leading goal in over time. Heatley has had a great tournament in Prague with seven goals thus far to lead all players in Prague.

The Canadians had a dismal start to this game as the Finns out shot and out played them through the first period with 12 shots compared to Canada’s 7 and quick off the mark lead of 2-0. Mike Babcock took his team into the dressing room and quickly refocused them on the task at hand, as a totally different team came out for period number two. Back to their intense fore checking Canada picked up the pace and went into the third period tied at 3. Each time the Finns took the lead, Canada would battle back leading up to Heatley’s dramatic finish in OT.

Canada can thank Roberto Luongo for the advance, as he shut the door in the final stages of the third and into the overtime to keep Finland off the score sheet, a frustrating thing for the Finns who gave Canada all they could handle in the early going. Luongo was particularly effective on a two man advantage in the second that last almost a minute and half as he denied the Finns time and time again.

In last years tournament Canada used a quarterfinal victory over Germany to propel it on towards its Gold medal performance. With Thursday’s defeat of the Finns Canada moves on to the semi finals with a game Saturday against either the Swiss or the Slovaks. The defence of the World title follows the same path as years gone by, Canada hoping that at the end of the run they once again can claim the World Championship as theirs

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