Article written by Jordan Leclair - Community Contributor
Canada keeps it simple against Norway.
Norway came out strong and Mats Zuccarello seemed to surprise Team Canada. Though Canada showed no real signs of distress though as the Norwegians managed to keep the score sheet clean through the first period. Canada didn’t look as dangerous as people may have been thinking but this could be because of excellent positioning and a calm demeanor from Norwegian goalie Lars Haugen. Norway continued to look sharp throughout the first though play was spent mostly in their own zone. The Canadians didn’t seem to see a grinding, chippy game to come from the Norwegians. The matchup between Crosby and Ole-Kristian Tolefsson seemed like a good one for Norway as it was working well.
Through the second, Team Canada came out a lot stronger, everyone seemed to be rolling lines at full speed and Canada brought a lot of sustained pressure. This isn’t quite the high flying team everyone was expecting but Mike Babcock seemed to stress teamwork versus star status. Through this Canada kept Norway trapped in the zone and forced them to take a defensive zone penalty and finally, at 6:20 left in the second period Shea Weber buried the first Canadian goal of the tournament. This was at no fault to Lars Haugen was screened by his own defender on the play. If you allow Shea Weber to get a slap shot in the face-off dot, it’s going to be a tough one to save. Canada kept up it’s domination of the second period as they held Norway to a whopping zero shots in the period. The work of Canada was not in vain though as Jamie Benn found himself alone in the slot and put a beauty knuckle puck off the post and in at the 15:12 mark of the period. Canada continued to push the pace of the period drawing it to a close with a score of two nothing. Although Canada will start the third shorthanded as Mats Zuccarello makes a nice play to create a two on one and Keith gets caught hooking but prevents the goal.
Norway comes out in the third looking to at least put a shot on goal. When you’re the underdog you have to play to win periods and I would say they won the first period but the second was a different story. Though in the third period they capitalized on the powerplay potting their first goal of the tournament on a misplay by Carey Price. This caused a turnover and Mathias Olimb found himself high in the slot and put it in against Price. Canada didn’t allow this to deflate them though as Drew Doughty pinched in from the point and got in close to put it high blocker on Haugen. Canada continued to put pressure on the Norwegians and managed a full change while retaining the puck in the offensive zone. Lars Haugen continued to look sharp throughout the third turning away 35 of 38 shots even though he allowed three goals. Haugen is the reason Norway had a chance through most of this game and will surely be on the radar of their future opponents. Patrice Bergeron took an interference penalty with 1:39 left in the third period which gave Norway a chance to come back but Canada killed it off to end the game at three to one.
Although Canada came out relatively weak, they seemed to rally together in the second period and became the team everyone expected them to be. It was not a flashy game by any means but it certainly was a good, basic game. No bad turnovers, no odd-man rushes and simple hockey. Norway should definitely take this as a moral victory though, they managed to stay in a game that seemingly should have been a blowout. Norway is certainly a team to be taken seriously especially goalie Lars Haugen and defender Ole Tolefsson who played absolutely phenomenally and managed to hold Sidney Crosby off of the score sheet and with only two shots on goal
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