The cape draped over the shoulders of Malcolm Subban said it all.
The black cape, with the Hockey Canada emblem, is given to the Canadian MVP after each game as determined by head coach Steve Spott. After a pair of suspect outings to open the 2013 World Under-20 Championship, the Canadian goalie found his groove against the United States on Sunday.
Subban made 36 saves in Canada's 2-1 win. He was especially strong during a four-minute shorthanded situation after a double-minor high-sticking penalty to Canadian defenceman Griffin Reinhart in the second period, in which Subban made eight saves.
Subban also came up big when, after a power-play goal from U.S. defenceman Jacob Trouba with eight minutes and 58 seconds remaining, the U.S. stormed into Canada's end on the next shift. The Canadian goalie stopped U.S. defenceman Seth Jones off the rush and Ryan Hartman's rebound try.
The victory extended Canada's win streak in world junior tournaments that have been affected by an NHL lockout to a perfect 16-0 and sets up a showdown with the host team from Russia on Monday. Canada needs a win in regulation time, overtime or a shootout to lasso a bye straight into the semifinals on Thursday.
Here are five matters from Canada's third win in Ufa, Russia:1.
As good as Subban was for Canada, U.S. goalie John Gibson was equally as strong. The Kitchener Rangers goalie went up against his OHL head coach in Spott and Rangers teammate Ryan Murphy.
Gibson stopped Murphy on a three-on-one Canadian break midway through the first period and stoned forward Ty Rattie on a two-on-one shorthanded rush in the third period. This important stop on Rattie enabled the U.S. to race down the other way and score their lone goal.2.
Both teams suffered some mental mistakes in the third period with needless penalties. Particularly disturbing for Spott and his coaching staff were slashing and boarding penalties from Jonathan Huberdeau and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, respectively, in the final three-plus minutes of the game.
Canada can't afford too many shorthanded situations against the Russians.3.
As good as the Canada juniors penalty-killing unit has performed in Ufa, their power play struggled against the U.S. Canada went 0-for-6 in man-advantage situations and failed to score in 2:36 of 5-on-3 action in the third period.4.
Ryan Strome likely will get a look with the New York Islanders if the NHL lockout can be solved in the next couple weeks, and he continued to show why at this tournament.
When he knocked in a pass from his Niagara IceDogs teammate Brett Ritchie for Canada's second goal in the first period, he increased his goal total to seven goals in nine career world junior games. Not quite Jordan Eberle's pace of 14 goals in 12 games in 2009 and 2010, but close.
Strome just has to quell his penchant for bad penalties. He was benched in Canada's game against Slovakia after a third period penalty. Strome took another slashing penalty late in the first period and batted the puck out of play for a delay of game call, his third and fourth infractions in three games.
5. When Canada meets Russia on Monday, suspended players Boone Jenner and J.C. Lipon will return to the Canadian lineup. It will be the first time Spott will have a full complement of players to utilize.
Lipon was banished for a game after a checking to the head area penalty against Slovakia on Friday. Jenner missed the first three games of the tournament because of a suspension he received for a late hit in a Dec. 22nd exhibition game against Sweden.
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