Canada devastates Denmark in quarterfinal
Canada routed Denmark 8-0 in the quarterfinals of the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship on Friday at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre.
The win takes Hockey Canada’s men’s junior team to the semifinals against Slovakia on Sunday at the same venue. The two teams met earlier in the group stage, where Canada started its journey with a punishing 8-0 win.
On Friday, Connor McDavid helped Canada to get things going, using his blistering pace to skate behind the Denmark net before spotting Curtis Lazar in front of goal. From there Lazar buried his shot past soon-to-be besieged Danish goaltender George Sorensen at 10:37 of the first period.
It’s hard to conceive that at one point Denmark was outshooting Canada 4-0 but that obviously didn’t last. Canada made it 2-0 on the scoreboard when Sam Reinhart popped one past Sorensen less than five minutes after Lazar.
While the Canadians looked increasingly comfortable, one negative from the opening period was the loss of forward Robby Fabbri, who was helped off the ice early on with an ankle injury.
“It’s unfortunate to see,” Reinhart – who became the tournament’s joint-leading scorer after Friday – later remarked on Fabbri’s departure. Brayden Point took over for Fabbri on a line with McDavid and Lazar, a player Reinhart described as “a pretty competitive guy.”
The scoring resumed in the second period when Lawson Crouse, McDavid and Lazar all scored within a span of six minutes to give Canada a 5-0 lead through 40 minutes. Canada outshot the overmatched Danes 19-3 in that period.
Nick Paul made it six for Canada just three minutes into the third. Then newly-promoted Point got his second goal of the tournament, assisted by both of his new linemates.
“I thought we did a good job,” Point said of the new arrangement, and he was pleased to grab a goal. “It was pretty cool, it was a big crowd too to score in front of, so it was definitely a good feeling.”
Nick Ritchie rounded out the scoring for Canada.
In the Canadian net, Zach Fucale picked up his second shutout of the tournament. He was sharp when it was warranted, though faced only 14 shots in total. On having long stretches of inaction Fucale said “You just stay focused on what you (have) to do, you just stay focused on the task and you don’t let you mind wander anywhere,” because the aim is to “play as hard as you can for the whole game.”
Although not yet ready for the likes of Canada, Denmark won admirers at the Air Canada Centre throughout the tournament, including on Friday night receiving a huge ovation at the end of the game for their overall performance. In the group stage, the Danes won their first-ever top tier IIHF World Junior game in a shootout victory over Switzerland.
Head coach Olaf Eller, whose son Lars plays for the Montreal Canadiens in the National Hockey League, thanked the Canadian fans for their support:
Denmark rescued Sorensen from the net with 13:14 left in the game. Thomas Lillie came in to stop 14 of 15 shots for the Danes. The two Danish goaltenders faced 50 shots combined.