Thursday, December 31, 2015

World Juniors: December 31, 2015 -- Canada vs Sweden

Canada's tournament blue print hasn't quite gone according to plan, a first game loss to their North American Rivals from the USA was the first indication that there was work to be done still, a tough loss that was followed by match ups with the Danes and the Swiss both of which at times left Canadian fans a tad nervous.

The former were eventually taken care of fairly effectively, while the the latter provided another challenging affair, a match up that required a Shoot out before Canada could improve on its record over three games.

For New Years Eve, the Canadians face perhaps the most strenuous test yet, a match up with the undefeated Swedish  squad currently ruling the roost atop the World Junior placements, with a total of 9 Points on their tournament so far with 14 Goals For and but three against.

Canada currently sits third in Group A Play chasing the USA by one point, holding off the Danes by Two heading into Thursday's play.  Their third spot is most likely to be the resting spot as the opening round comes to an end, regardless of how they fare against Sweden.

While Canada decides on how best to approach the Group leaders, the US will be taking on Denmark and considering the ruthless efficiency that the US exhibited on Wednesday with the Swiss, it seems likely that the Danes will face much the same fate by the time everyone makes their New Year's Eve plans following Tournament play.

And while they keep a focus on the work at hand, Canada's scouting group will no doubt be keeping a watchful eye on the Group B matches, making plans for the opening round of the elimination round to come up on January 2nd.

The early round struggles have highlighted some of the areas to be addressed as Canada worked its way through the first 3 games, the Swedish game may be a good measuring stick as to whether they have taken note of their weak spots. The points less important today than the positional play and the ability to keep to the plan ahead, should they not resolve some of those issues, the trip to Helsinki may not provide for quite the outcome that they may have anticipated when the departed from Canada.

Sweden 5 vs Canada 2  summary 

Post Game Notes:
December 31 -- Canada's world junior loss to Sweden a forgettable finish to 2015
December 31 -- Canada looking ahead after being blown out by Swedes
December 31 -- Canada struggles to find its game in loss to Sweden at 2016 world juniors

Preview Notes:

Five things to watch at the Canada-Sweden world juniors game
Mackenzie Blackwood standing tall in goal for Team Canada
Team Canada rallies behind coach mourning father's death
Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Mitch Marner ‘still finding his way’ with Team Canada at 2016 world juniors
Dominique Ducharme, Team Canada's assistant coach, to remain in Finland after father's passing
Canada's Mitch Marner struggling to make impact

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