Reimer there when it counts

At the end of a tough afternoon James Reimer was thankful for another opportunity to contribute to the Canadian cause.

Canada’s Marc Methot up-ends American Jack Skille

Canada’s Marc Methot up-ends American Jack Skille

Canada 4 U.S. 3 (SO)

KOSICE, Slovakia — At the end of a tough afternoon James Reimer was thankful for another opportunity to contribute to the Canadian cause.

The goaltender surrendered a couple shaky goals to the U.S. on Friday but made two important saves in the shootout as Canada survived another scare at the IIHF World Hockey Championship and pulled out a 4-3 victory.

Jordan Eberle and Rick Nash each beat Ty Conklin in the tiebreaker while Reimer denied Jack Johnson and Blake Wheeler to keep Canada perfect at the tournament. The goaltender faced just 20 shots during the game and found it tough to get in a groove.

“It was an interesting game,” said Reimer. “I felt like every shot went in from my part. It was a heck of a tough game, one of the toughest I’ve played. I felt like I was on my angle and where I needed to be, but for some reason pucks were missing me. …

“I just had to keep battling and when it went to a shootout it was kind of a time to redeem yourself a little bit.”

Reimer has started all four of Canada’s games here but will serve as Jonathan Bernier’s backup when the Canadians face Norway today (TSN, 8:15 a.m. ).

With games on consecutive days, that was the plan all along. Canadian coach Ken Hitchcock hinted Reimer will continue to be his No. 1 man when the team wraps up the round robin against Sweden on Monday before travelling to Bratislava for the medal round.

“We’re still focused on Reims right now, to be honest with you,” said Hitchcock. “He’s not going to have games like this for the rest of the tournament. He’s going to have to make a lot of saves later on.”

Canada carried the game offensively and directed 51 shots at Conklin, who made his first start of the tournament. Reimer couldn’t help but notice the performance his counterpart was delivering at the other end of the ice.

“It makes it even harder when your game isn’t quite up to par and the other guy is standing on his head,” said Reimer. “You’ve got to have mental toughness, you’ve got to be strong, you’ve got to be able to battle through that and come up big when you need to.

“Thankfully, I got another opportunity to make a few saves for my team.”

Brent Burns, John Tavares and Jason Spezza scored in regulation for Canada (4-0-0) while Johnson, Mike Komisarek and Derek Stepan replied for the U.S. (2-1-1).

With 20 goals in four games, scoring hasn’t been much of a problem for the Canadians. But they were only able to solve Conklin once on 30 shots through two periods and found themselves trailing 2-1 with 20 minutes to play.

“We tried to talk to him a bit, get in his kitchen,” Spezza said of Conklin. “He was unflappable today. Sometimes you’ve got to tip your hat at a guy, he played great.”

The game went back and forth in the final period.

Tavares tied it 2-2 at 3:27 before setting up Spezza for a power-play goal less than two minutes later. But Stepan completed a nice-give-and go with Wheeler and beat Reimer with a low shot at 11:17 to set up overtime.

Canada gave up a one-goal lead with less than two minutes remaining before beating Switzerland in overtime earlier this week.

“We’ve got to learn how to finish games off,” said Nash.

The Canadians weren’t very sharp early in the game, turning the puck over with a number of sloppy passes and failing to capitalize on some good scoring chances. But they came out hard in the second period and did everything but score.

“I think we hit three posts in three shifts there,” said forward Evander Kane. “The bounces definitely weren’t going our way.”

To make matters worse, Komisarek opened the scoring shortly afterwards. The defenceman took a floating seeing-eye shot that dipped before making its way through legs of his Maple Leafs teammate Reimer.

After Burns had tied it 1-1, the Canadian goalie was beaten by Johnson on a breakaway that came when he got out of the penalty box. The third American goal came from the slot but it was a shot Reimer figured he could have had.

“It’s really hard for a goaltender to play in a game like this,” said Hitchcock. “From our standpoint, I was happy for him that he did so well in the overtime when we needed him.”

In the late game, Sweden beat France 4-0 with goals from Robert Nilsson, Oliver Ekman Larsson, Patrik Berglund and Staffan Kronwall

Meanwhile in Bratislava, Marek Zidlicky, Martin Havlat and Patrik Elias scored to lead defending champion Czech Republic to a 3-2 win over host Slovakia, securing a spot in the quarter-finals. Finland also prevailed, defeating Germany 5-4 in shootout.

Finland has five points in Group E, while Germany has seven and is closing in on a berth in the quarter.

Notes: Bernier backed up Reimer. … Al Montoya started in goal for the first three U.S. games here. … Defenceman Mario Scalzo was removed from Canada’s lineup to make room for centre Antoine Vermette, who played just 3:21. … Komisarek has one goal in 109 games with the Leafs over the last two seasons. … Johnson played a game-high 28 -minutes, including more than half of overtime.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

With a ban on sit-in dining set to begin at noon Friday, Las Palmeras owner Andre Lemus is gearing up for more takeout and delivery business. He has also applied to set up and outdoor patio, where dining is allowed under new restrictions, and is selling his own branded seasonings, salsa, guacamole, tequila bags, margerita kits, and even aprons like the one he is wearing.
Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff
Big interest in outdoor patios in Red Deer as sit-down dining banned again

City of Red Deer has tweaked its patio regulations to make it easier to get a permit

Artist Delree Dumont has painted an Indigenous mural at St. Joseph High School. (Contributed photo)
Indigenous mural painted on Red Deer high school walls

A new Indigenous mural now sits on the walls of St. Joseph… Continue reading

Jessica Swainson learned about improvisation and filmmaking at The Hub on Ross before its closure. She’s pictured here with her former Hub instructor Jason Steele. (Contributed photo).
Red Deer city, arts council are working to close ‘gaps’ left by The Hub’s closure

Could some popular Hub programs be resurrected at Northside Community Centre?

Red Deer College (Contributed photo)
Updated: RDC students to be hit with steep fee and tuition increases

Many students will see more than $1,000 in extra education costs in 2021-22

This unicorn was stolen from the small community of Delia, northeast of Drumheller on Friday and was recovered, with its bronze horn broken off, on Saturday. RCMP are looking for information on the suspects.
(Photo from RCMP)
Unicorn statue stolen in central Alberta recovered

Statue found with horn broken off in field about 15 km from Delia

A vial of the Medicago vaccine sits on a surface. CARe Clinic, located in Red Deer, has been selected to participate in the third phase of vaccine study. (Photo courtesy www.medicago.com)
Red Deer clinical research centre participating in plant-based COVID-19 vaccine trial

A Red Deer research centre has been selected to participate in the… Continue reading

The Rogers logo is photographed in Toronto on Monday, September 30, 2019.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tijana Martin
Experts warn of economic implications from Rogers wireless outage

A massive wireless outage that has left customers of Rogers Communications Inc.… Continue reading

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland delivers the federal budget in the House of Commons as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on in Ottawa on Monday April 19, 2021. The federal government unveiled spending plans to manage the remainder of the COVID-19 crisis and chart an economic course for a post-pandemic Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Federal Budget 2021: Liberals bank on child care, business aid to prod growth

OTTAWA — The federal Liberals are betting that billions more in debt… Continue reading

University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams is photographed in the stands during the Greater Victoria Invitational at CARSA Performance Gym at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, November 29, 2019. The University of Victoria says Williams has resigned effective immediately. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
University of Victoria women’s rowing coach resigns by mutual agreement

VICTORIA — The University of Victoria says the head coach of its… Continue reading

Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley announces proposed new legislation to protect Alberta’s mountains and watershed from coal mining at a news conference in Calgary on Monday, March 15, 2021. A group of 35 scientists from the University of Alberta are urging the provincial government to rethink its plans for expanding coal-mining in the Rocky Mountains. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Alberta scientists urge adoption of bill that would protect against coal mining

EDMONTON — Some 35 scientists from the University of Alberta are urging… Continue reading

A driver shows identification to an Ottawa police officer as a checkpoint as vehicles enter the province from Quebec Monday April 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Quebec and Ontario impose travel restrictions to slow surging virus variants

Ontario and Quebec imposed new interprovincial travel restrictions on Monday amid growing… Continue reading

Education Minister Adriana LaGrange was in Red Deer on Friday to provide an update on the province's COVID-19 response in schools.
Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff
LaGrange: Feedback needed to refine curriculum

As the Minister of Education my role has been guided by a… Continue reading

In this Feb. 24, 2020, photo, the Olympics rings are reflected on the window of a hotel restaurant as a server with a mask sets up a table, in the Odaiba section of Tokyo. The vaccine rollout in Japan has been very slow with less than 1% vaccinated. This of course is spilling over to concerns about the postponed Tokyo Olympics that open in just over three months.(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)
Will Japanese Olympians be vaccinated ahead of the public?

TOKYO — The vaccine rollout in Japan has been very slow with… Continue reading

PSG's Kylian Mbappe, right, greets Bayern's Lucas Hernandez at the end of the Champions League, second leg, quarterfinal soccer match between Paris Saint Germain and Bayern Munich at the Parc des Princes stadium, in Paris, France, Tuesday, April 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
PSG, Bayern the big names missing from Super League plan

DÜSSELDORF, Germany — The plan for the new Super League soccer competition… Continue reading

Most Read