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Canada finishes first

Denmark in dire straits after 8-0 loss

Published 30.12.2017 23:13 GMT-5 | Author Andrew Podnieks
Canada finishes first
BUFFALO, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 30: Canada's Brett Howden #21 scores a second period goal against Denmark's Emil Gransoe #1 during the preliminary round of the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship. (Photo by Andrea Cardin/HHOF-IIHF Images)
Canada jumped into a 3-0 lead after one period and cruised to an 8-0 win over Denmark to claim first place in Group A.

Canada now has two days off before the quarter-finals on January 2. It wll not play Sweden, but could still potentially play any of Russia, Czech Republic, or Switzerland.

"We knew if we won tonight we'd finish in first place," said Sam Steel, "so we wanted to play the right way and be prepared for the quarter-finals. Yesterday was a crazy day, and we were all a little exhausted last night, physically and mentally, but we re-focused and came to the rink ready to play today."

"We wated to come out and play hard, play the Canadian way, so it's good to get back in the win column," said defenceman Kale Clague. "But I think we still have more. Our goal is to build our game throughout the tournament, and I think going forward we're going to get better."

The loss leaves Denmark winless ot 0-3 and puts the team in a must-win situation tomorrow in its final round-robin game against Slovakia. If the Danes don’t win in regulation, they are off to the relegation round. If they do win in 60 minutes, the Slovakians will be off to the best-of-three survival series.

Over and above this fact is that Denmark has scored just once in three games while surrendering 21.

Carter Hart got the shutout for Canada by stopping 18 shots while Canada peppered Emil Gransoe with 44.

Brett Howden had two goals while Cal Foote had three assists in the game.

"it was a good overall effort by everyone," enthused Hart. "Our goal was to come out flying, and we played that way the whole game. Now we have to get ready and prepare for the quarter-finals."

Canada got off to just the start it needed to crush the Danish spirit and eradicate the bad memories from yesterday’s disappointing loss to the Americans outdoors. Robert Thomas scored from a bad angle off the body of goalie Gransoe, a shot Gransoe would love to have a second chance on.

That goal came at 3:58, and it wasn’t until late in the period that Canada scored two more. In between, it had the territorial advantage by a long shot. The late goals came as a result of juicy rebounds. In the first case, Gransoe was on his belly when Brett Howden backhanded a loose puck into the empty net at 17:21.

Finally, with only 20.4 seconds left, Steel knocked in a loose puck from the blue ice.

The Danes had only four shots in the period but two were on breakaways by Joachim Blichfeld. In the first, he was bested by a nice pad save by Hart midway through the period. In the second, Blichfeld took advantage of a poor clearing pass by Dante Fabbro and moved in alone, again being foiled by Hart.

Canada added two more in the second before taking its foot off the pedal for a while. Cale Makar fired a shot over Gransoe from the top of the slot that beat the goalie cleanly at 7:52.

Then, at 9:20, Foote’s long shot was tipped by Howden. Canada took its first two penalties of the period a bit later, but the Danes couldn’t generate any pressure or create a first-rate scoring chance with the extra man.

Michael McLeod added another in the third off a bullet shot to the far side of a beleaguered Gransoe.

Drake Batherson topped the count with a power-play marker at 12:26.

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