Canadians wipe out Swiss
Canadians wipe out Swiss
Jost another day at the office, Canada wins QF
Canada has medaled at the last four IIHF World U18 Championships (gold in 2013 and bronze in 2012, 2014 and 2015) and gets a chance to extend that streak. This quarter-final victory was Canada's best all-around effort to date.
"It was a big game for us," said Brett Howden, who also shone with two goals, plus three assists of the gorgeous variety. "I feel like every game, we’ve been getting stronger as a team and getting closer together off the ice. That’s a big key point as to why we’re having so much success."
The Canadians will face the winner of Sweden-Slovakia in the semi-finals.
Jost, who stars for the BCHL's Penticton Vees, is gunning to win the U18 scoring title, as he already has 14 points in five games, tying Connor McDavid's single-tournament Canadian record. Last year, U.S. star Auston Matthews topped the parade with 15 points in seven games. Russia's Nikita Kucherov owns the single-tournament record with 21 points in 2011.
"I wouldn’t have any of this success if it wasn’t for my teammates," said Jost, who will play at the Ralph Engelstad Arena next season with the University of North Dakota. "They’re such amazing players and they’re getting me pucks in the right spots. I’ve had wide-open nets for tap-ins."
Michael MacLeod scored twice, and David Quenneville and Cameron Morrison both had a goal and an assist. Dante Fabbro had three assists and William Bitten chipped in two assists.
The Canadian power play was on fire, clicking four times.
In goal for Canada, Evan Fitzpatrick came through when tested as his team outshot Switzerland 45-26. The Swiss went back to Philip Wuthrich after his 32-save debut in the 4-0 loss to the United States.
Of Fitzpatrick, Jost said: "When you have him in net, you can really trust him and rely on him. It makes it easier to play your game when you’ve got such a stud in net like that."
Janik Loosli got Switzerland's lone goal.
The underdog Swiss shocked the hockey world by blanking Russia 5-0 in last year's quarter-final, but couldn't imitate that feat here. They've only medaled once in tournament history (silver in 2001) and have only made the top four on three occasions (fourth in 1999, 2000, and 2015).
"For 60 minutes, Canada was the better team," said Swiss captain Livio Stadler. "No words about that. I don’t know what to say. The tournament is over. We tried to do our best the whole tournament. Now, 9-1 in the quarter-finals is pretty tough for the mentality of the team."
The first sign that it might not be Wuthrich’s day came when the Swiss goalie tried to play the puck from the corner to his right and almost put it into his own net.
Jost opened the scoring on a shorthanded breakaway at 6:40, outracing the Swiss defence and zipping a shot five-hole.
Canada went up 2-0 at 11:56, thanks to exceptional power play puck movement. From the goal line to Wuthrich’s left, Howden sent a beautiful diagonal pass over to Quenneville in the faceoff circle, and he pounded the puck into the gaping net.
As the quarter-final wore on, the size advantage of the Canadian players (186 cm and 87 kg on average) would hamper the Swiss (183 cm and 81 kg on average). Switzerland’s Simon le Coultre tried to fake his way through defenceman Logan Stanley and got dumped heavily into the side boards.
With just over two minutes left in the first, Fitzpatrick stopped a great point-blank chance from Marco Miranda to preserve the two-goal lead. He slid across on a Swiss odd-man break to frustrate Miranda again in the opening minute of the second period.
Jost made it 3-0 on the power play at 3:36, capitalizing on a beautiful spinaround pass delivered by Howden from "Wayne Gretzky's office" behind the net.
"The power play was just clicking tonight," said Howden. "They’re starting to go in. If we can carry that on to the next couple of games, that’ll be good for us."
It was 4-0 Canada at 10:17 after Howden, falling on the rush, got the puck over to Morrison, and he beat Wuthrich for his first goal here in Grand Forks.
The Canadians continued to play solid defence and jump on Swiss errors as they occurred. McLeod took a nice pass from Jordan Kyrou and slipped past three Swiss defenders to loft a cheeky backhander home for the fifth Canadian goal at 16:19.
At 18:37, Loosli spoiled Fitzpatrick's shutout bid on the power play, whacking in a rebound after the Canadians bobbled the puck in front of their net. It hardly mattered.
In the third period, Howden put Canada up 6-1 with the man advantage at 2:01. Jost set up Fabbro on the rush and he hit the post, enabling Howden to tap in the rebound.
The Canadian captain completed his hat trick at 10:07, racing down to convert William Bitten's dazzling backhanded saucer pass.
At 11:21, Owen Tippett came down and fed McLeod for an easy tap-in to make it 8-1. Howden cruised in off left wing and put it five-hole on the 9-1 goal at 15:24.
The lone area of concern for the Canadians after this game might be the sin bin. They took seven minor penalties against a lower-echelon opponent, and that tendency could prove costly in the semi-finals or final.
Switzerland's three best players of the tournament were named after the quarter-final: Nico Hischier, Dominik Volejnicek, and Tobias Geisser.
"We were a young team here," said Stadler. "Our 1999 and 2000 players are a very good group. It will be a good team next year, and I wish them the best of luck."
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