Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Should Auld Acquaintance be Forgot..

Well they’re a few days beyond the traditional night for fond remembrances, yet Wednesday at the World Junior Hockey Championships, two old friends will get together one more time to renew acquaintances.

Canada vs the USA, it’s the ticket to some hard nosed, North American style hockey that should pack them into the stadium in Mora. A one game battle for the right to go to the gold Medal game on Friday.

The Americans wanted another shot at the undefeated Canadian squad and took care of Finland 6-3 in the quarterfinal, to earn their shot. If anything is to get the Americans motivated to redeem themselves after a very poor start to the tournament, it will be the opportunity to knock off their continental cousins. Denying Canada another shot a gold medal is something that the American squad is relishing, making the trip to Sweden that much more rewarding.

For Canada, the game will not provide any surprises. They know it will be hard nosed, hard checking with each shift ready to count towards the final result.

If they can stick to their game plan there’s no reason that they couldn’t be holding Gold medals by Friday evening, but they can’t look that far ahead. This is a very much at this moment time for Canada, a team that while tested hasn’t really been in any danger of falling out of the medal hunt.

They are wise enough to throw away the preliminary result against the Americans, a game in which they handled the USA rather handily. As they have learned from past tournaments, the good teams tend to improve as the tournament progresses and that’s the case with the USA.

They certainly had a rough start to the tournament, but as the game against the Finns highlighted they know how to win and when it’s time to make their move.

It should be a wonderful match up, two teams that are more than a little familiar with each other, enough to put a bit more of an edge into this one than into most. The key will be to channel all that energy into a successful result at the end of the game.

If Canada or the USA let their emotions run out of control then they will quickly learn that the other team has the advantage, the momentum and in the end the victory.

This one has all the ingredients of a barn burner, one team plays on, the other skates off sixty minutes will tell if Canada keeps its streak alive, or if the Americans write another chapter in their big moments in US hockey book.

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