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

DRAWL searches for Okanagan Valley accent

UBC study wants to hear from Okanagan residents

Update: Heavy snow disrupts flights at Kelowna International

Kelowna - Expect snow in the Okanagan, Southern Interior and the Kootenays

Veteran reporter to stay at Global Okanagan

Blaine Gaffney was given a layoff notice after a miscommunication

New BCFGA president well prepared for new task

Oliver orchardist Pinder Dhaliwal has been BCFGA vice-president for five years

Cars collide on Duncan street

Two cars will have to be towed from the scene following a late afternoon crash

What’s happening

Check out what is happening this weekend in the Okanagan-Shuswap.

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

RCMP seeking missing Sun Peaks man

Ryan Shtuka, 19, was last seen leaving a party on Burfield Drive Friday night

Southern Interior receives as much as 30cm of snow

Environment Canada report shows deep snow in the wake of storm

UPDATE: Body of missing skier found

Man’s truck found in Revelstoke Mountain Resort’s parking lot covered in ‘several days’ snow’

Vees lose to Rivermen

First period proves costly in 5-3 loss to Rivermen.

B.C. VIEWS: Subsidy supercluster settles in B.C.

Ottawa, Victoria add to their overlapping ‘innovation’ budgets

OLYMPIC ROUNDUP: Canada’s first ever men’s ski slopestyle medal

Men’s hockey team beats South Korea and women’s curling reverses losing streak

Most Read