Thursday, August 26, 2004

Smooth skating in Ottawa

Team Canada took advantage of the Tampa connection for a scoring spurt in the second period which propelled the Canadians on to a 3-1 victory over Team USA in Ottawa Wednesday night.

Vincent Lecavalier and Brad Richards, benefiting from the example of some fellow named Lemieux, scored two of the three Canadian goals and Joe Sakic added the final marker as the Canadians recovered from Monday’s loss at Columbus. Playing a style of hockey that Jarome Iginla called “Canadian hockey” Team Canada added some physical play to their speed game as they turned the tables on the Americans, who took the play to them two nights ago.

Despite being outshot by the Americans, Canada held back a charge in the third period when the USA outshot the host 15-6. Roberto Lunongo, who let in all three goals on Monday night, held off the Americans for his half of the game, turning over the netminding duties to Jose Theodore at 10 minutes of the second. Theodore weathered the third period storm fairly handily, giving up a goal to Chris Drury, at the 4 minute mark of the third. But having faced 18 of 19 shots successfully Theodore made a strong case for the opportunity to serve as back up to Team Canada starter Martin Brodeur.

The Americans started Robert Esche in the nets on Wednesday he kept the Canadians off the scoreboard for his 30 minutes of play, Canada getting all of their goals when Ty Conklin took over midway through the second.

For coach Pat Quinn the Canadian effort was more to his liking, he particularly was impressed with the rapport between Richards, Lecavalier and Lemieux and also felt that all the forwards did a much better job of coming back to help out in their own end.

The two teams have one exhibition game remaining; Canada plays Slovakia on Saturday in Ottawa while the Americans take on the Russian team on Friday in Columbus. With one more game to work out the line combinations, shake out any remaining rust and get their systems down, both Canada and USA feel they’ll be ready for action when the tournament gets under way on August 30th.

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