BUFFALO, N.Y. — Kieffer Bellows and Brady Tkachuk scored in the shootout as the United States beat Canada 4-3 on Friday in the first outdoor game in world junior hockey championship history.
Here are three things we learned heading into Canada’s game against Denmark on Saturday.
NO MORE PENALTIES — The Canadians had a solid two-goal lead heading into the second intermission of Friday’s loss to the United States, but bad penalties and poor decision making on the penalty kill cost them. Head coach Dominique Ducharme guaranteed that Canada would not have any more issues with penalties against Denmark or in the playoff rounds.
“Learning to win, as a group, at that level, and there’s no better time than right now,” said Ducharme. “We’ll learn from that game, I can promise you that.”
FIRST STILL WITHIN REACH — Although Canada and the United States now have identical 2-1 records in Group A, the Canadians have earned seven points to the Americans’ five. Canada’s two regulation-time wins have more value, and their overtime loss also gives them a point. Therefore, a regulation win over Denmark on Saturday will guarantee the Canadians first place in the group with the U.S. closing out its preliminary round play on Sunday against Finland.
“It’s a short-term competition,” said captain Dillon Dube. “We have to be ready to go tomorrow that’s the biggest thing is forget about stuff that happened. All we can do is build off it from now. It’s a huge game for us tomorrow to lock up first place.”
HART OF GOLD — Goaltender Carter Hart was a bright spot for Canada, making 32 saves as the United States peppered him with shots from odd angles. Despite his excellent play, he may get a rest against Denmark. Hart was on the ice for every second of the nearly four-hour game in very trying conditions, with the temperature hovering around -10 C and with several inches of snow falling. Colton Point, who earned a 20-save shutout against Slovakia on Wednesday, may start in his place.
“I’m not sure what’s the plan, whether I’m starting or not, but if I am then I’ll be ready and if not, I’ll still be ready,” said Hart. “Tomorrow I think we’ve got to put this one behind us and focus on the job we have to do.”