Canada’s Sam Steel, centre, skates with goalie Carter Hart, right, and Jordan Kyrou, left, during team practice at the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship in Buffalo, N.Y., Monday, January 1, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Blinch

Canada takes on Switzerland in quarterfinal matchup

Healthy roster, mind games and Steenbergen all things to look for v. Switzerland

Canada finished first in Group A at the world junior hockey championship, setting up a quarterfinal matchup against Switzerland on Tuesday afternoon. Here are three things to know heading into the game.

100 PER CENT HEALTHY — Injuries, especially to Canada’s defensive corps, have been an ongoing issue, but head coach Dominique Ducharme insists that his roster is totally healthy for Tuesday’s game. Canada has been helped by having two days off ahead of the world junior playoffs and Ducharme was able to rest banged up players for whole periods in an 8-0 rout of Denmark on Saturday. Everyone but defenceman Victor Mete practised on Monday afternoon and Ducharme says Mete just needed an extra day off.

“It’s important to be able to come into the quarters like this, and to be healthy like we are,” said Ducharme. “We’re 100 per cent right now. We’ll be 100 per cent when we start the game.”

HEAD GAMES — Swiss head coach Christian Wohlwend said he expects Canada to easily beat his team in the quarterfinals. In a televised interview, he listed all the ways Canada is superior to Switzerland, including their seven first-round NHL picks and an 8-1 Canadian victory in a pre-tournament exhibition less than a week before the world juniors began. Canadian captain Dillon Dube thinks Wohlwend is just employing psychological warfare.

“I think he’s obviously trying to send a message to his team, he must have said something to them,” said Dube. “I think that’s why he said that we dominated them in the exhibition. They’re going to come out trying to catch us sleeping so that’s why we really have to focus on our game and know what to expect, they’re going to come out hard.”

SECRET WEAPON — Canada’s junior team has struggled in the shootout the past two years. They have had no goals in nine attempts over the past two tournaments, leading to losses against the United States twice. On Monday, Canada worked on shootout moves at practice and 13th forward Tyler Steenbergen stood out. Rarely earning minutes except on the power play, he is an offensive specialist with 35 goals and 26 assists in 27 games for the Western Hockey League’s Swift Current Broncos.

“I think the best, for me, just the most calm was Steenbergen,” said Dube when asked who the best skater was in the shootout. “He just walked in there and shot everything and everything hit his target. It was impressive.”

___

John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Ponoka council challenged on payments on new building

Resident continues worries the town is paying over $94,000 per month on something it may never own

Plan to pump into Gull Lake won’t happen in 2019

Two-stage filter process to be evaluated by Alberta Environment

Remember When: A photo of the 1903 Ponoka Presbyterian Church

The building would late become the sight of the Ponoka United Church

Ponoka County denies rezoning over road responsibility issue

Application to parcel off land shot down by council due mainly to lack of access

Ponoka County council pleased with fire services budget

2019 budget presented to council include some higher operational costs

UK lawmakers reject Brexit deal in 432-202 vote

House of Commons votes against the deal struck between Britain’s government and the EU

Liberal candidate steps aside after singling out Jagmeet Singh’s race

Karen Wang says she made comments online that referenced Singh’s cultural background

Alberta doctor accused of sexual assault asked to voluntarily give up practice

College says Dr. Barry Wollach should discontinue his practice, given the seriousness of the allegation against him

Huawei founder thanks inmates, Canadian justice system for treating daughter well

Ren Zhengfei said he believes there will be a just conclusion to the case of his daughter, Meng Wanzhou

May government faces no-confidence vote after Brexit defeat

British Prime Minister Theresa May said she would stay put in her leadership role

Red Deerians can weigh in on proposed Bighorn Country investment tonight

Telephone town hall takes place 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Defending champions Team Scheidegger will fight to keep title

Stettler hosting 2019 Alberta Scotties provincial women’s bonspiel

WATCH: World-renowned illusionist, magician, escapist performs in Stettler

Matt Johnson performs two sold-out shows at Stettler Performing Arts Centre

Reflections: Looking back a brave Ponoka soldier

Private Frederick Keith Miller is recognized in this week’s Ponoka News history column

Most Read