EDMONTON — It solely took a minute for Logan Stankoven to place his stamp on Canada’s bid to advance in his group’s first elimination sport of the 2022 World Junior Championship. Over the following 59, he solely obtained higher, inflicting havoc for the crimson and white all evening as they outlasted a feisty Swiss aspect en path to a 6-3 win Wednesday at Rogers Place.
The Canadians knew they’d be getting a fast, expert group of their quarterfinal tilt towards Switzerland. The Swiss wound up being even higher than they anticipated. However the host aspect had a solution for the shocking underdogs, who got here out swinging from the opening puck-drop: their smooth-skating, slick-handed No. 10.
Hopping over the boards for his first shift of the sport, the undersized pivot confirmed some fast hops, reducing previous a defenceman and darting to the center of the ice earlier than dishing to Tyson Foerster, who made no mistake on Canada’s first shot. A couple of minutes later, Stankoven was flying by the offensive zone once more, a menace in the course of the ice.
By the top of the primary interval, he’d added a objective of his personal, snagging the puck off a Swiss turnover, ringing a shot off the publish, after which beating everybody else to the rebound to place house Canada’s third objective of the evening.
“He was just a bit fireball on the market, I assumed,” Canadian defender Ronan Seeley mentioned of Stankoven after the sport had wrapped up. “That’s the type of factor we see within the [WHL], and it got here out of him at present. It couldn’t have come out at a greater time.”
“I may inform from the primary shift,” captain Mason McTavish added, breaking down that early play from Stankoven and Foerster. “Everytime you see that, you type of know a man’s going that evening. And his linemates have been additionally doing the identical factor, they have been feeding him.”
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For Canada netminder Dylan Garand, who’s spent the previous 4 seasons with Stankoven in Kamloops, B.C., the dominant efficiency was nothing new.
“Only a traditional Stanks sport,” the netminder mentioned with a chuckle. “I’ve seen a number of these video games.”
It’s yet one more emergence for Stankoven, who’s recent off an MVP-calibre season with the Kamloops Blazers that noticed him named CHL Participant of the 12 months. For his half, although, Wednesday’s quarterfinal win felt like a real turning level amid a match that’s been harder than anticipated.
“It’s big,” he mentioned of with the ability to put the puck within the internet in a Canada sweater, the 19-year-old ending with two targets after including an empty-netter by the evening’s finish. “It’s more durable than I assumed, that’s for positive. It’s type of my first actual style, and the targets haven’t come simple. I’ve had the possibilities, however not as a lot as I’d’ve preferred. Tonight I assumed I used to be in a position to create a couple of extra possibilities … I assumed I had extra bounce and extra confidence in my sport.
“I really feel like once I’m hanging onto pucks extra and never eliminating the puck instantly, that’s once I’m at my greatest. And I assumed tonight was certainly one of my higher video games, for positive.”
As for the group as a complete, although, you’d be hard-pressed to search out somebody in a Canadian sweater who’d name Wednesday’s whole effort one of many aspect’s higher video games. Whereas the hosts had stretches of dominance from the opening interval to the third, in addition they repeatedly let the Swiss again into the lean.
After Stankoven arrange Foerster, there was Switzerland answering a minute later. As Canada put up three extra to fly out to a hefty lead within the first, the Swiss obtained two extra of their very own, persevering with to chip away. It was a lot the identical within the second interval, with every group including yet one more to their tally, the house aspect holding onto a two-goal lead the remainder of the way in which till Stankoven finally gave them some extra respiration room together with his late empty-netter.
They’ll reside to proceed the march in the direction of gold, however with harder opponents looming, there’s absolutely work to be executed to tighten up the squad’s total sport.
“I assumed it was uneven,” head coach Dave Cameron mentioned of his group’s efficiency post-game. “I didn’t suppose we had as a lot power, I didn’t suppose we executed fast sufficient, I assumed we have been bringing pucks again moderately than going north, which is what led to our success towards the opposite group.
“It was the dreaded quarterfinal sport — you’re enjoying the group that has completely nothing to lose. Give them credit score, they got here at us, they made it attention-grabbing, however we discovered a means.”
Canada was dealt one other little bit of adversity throughout the evening as properly, as ahead Ridly Greig was pressured out of the sport within the first interval after taking a clumsy hit and seeming to be in some discomfort afterwards. The Ottawa Senators prospect — who’s been certainly one of Canada’s simple greatest by the match thus far — didn’t return for the second or third intervals. His coach didn’t supply any extra element on the potential damage post-game, solely saying Greig was being evaluated, and the group would have an replace Thursday.
No matter what adjustments would possibly must be made to the lineup, the duty at hand will likely be a easy one: shift focus to Friday’s semifinal, to a different elimination sport, to tightening up all they will earlier than the following take a look at arrives.
“To be within the semis is big for us,” McTavish mentioned of the chance sitting forward. “We’re simply going to take it sport by sport. There’s solely six intervals left, hopefully, if all the things goes proper within the semis. I believe it’s both Finland, Czechia or Sweden — these are all nice groups. So, we’re going to need to positively put in loads of work.”