Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Warming up the brooms

Perhaps it’s fitting that the final four games of the Super Series take place in Western Canada where curling is such a popular activity, after all there should be no shortage of brooms around as Team Canada continues on along its dominating path.

Russia can claim a moral victory of sorts having out shot the Canadians 33-30 and having put up a strenuous effort through twenty minutes of play, but once those floodgates opened Canadian goals came as fast as the water on the Red And Assiniboine rivers during a heavy spring melt.

The Canadians began the deluge early in the second period and never looked back on the way to their convincing and statement making victory of 8-1 at Winnipeg's MTS Centre in front of 13,563 very patriotic citizens. Flags were flying and the crowd were singing as Canada came at the over matched Russians in wave after wave of attacks.

By six minutes of play of the second period Canada was two goals up on their Russian opposition, a margin that was cut by 1 when Alexander Vasyunov picked up a power play goal at the eight minute mark, but Canada quickly responded with a short handed goal to go ahead 3-1 and they never looked back after that, scoring five more over the next thirty minutes to put the exclamation point on game five.

Claude Giroux paced the Canadians with two goals, while single markers came from Logan Pyett, David Perron, Sam Gagner, Zac Boychuk, Zach Hamill and Kyle Turris.

Jonathan Bernier of the Lewiston Maineiacs, held his ground in the Canadian nets deflecting away all but 1 of the 33 Russian shots, he suffered a few bumps and crashes in the first period of play as the Russians provided a rather enthusiastic and physical element to their attack, but in the end Bernier had their number, much to the frustration of the Russian juniors.

Vadim Zhelobnyuk was left to face the Canadians and all eight of their goals, frequently staring down breakaways or two on ones as the Russian defence seemed to collapse into confusion as the Canadians crossed the blue line.

The Russians have not provided much of the trademark play that past teams have featured, their passing is anything but crisp and they are having some serious malfunctions in the scoring and playmaking department, as mentioned defensively they are having troubles adjusting to the Canadian transition game and with the exception of that first period tonight they have also shied away from a physical approach to the play.

Canada has outscored their opposition 25- 7 in five games thus far and look as though they could possibly double that number by the time the teams bid their adieus in Vancouver at the end of the week.

Next up for the series is tomorrow nights match in Saskatoon, where it’s expected that once again a large and boisterous crowd will greet the players, many of whom are regular visitors during the WHL season.

So far it’s been a clinic by Canada on how the game should be played, all that seems left for the Russians is to take some more notes, grab the film and head for home to work on their play and develop a new approach for this years’ World Junior Tournament over Christmas and New Year’s in the Czech Republic.

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