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McKenzie: Canada's victory started in goal with Wedgewood

Bob McKenzie
12/28/2011 11:12:52 PM
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For the longest time (about 37 minutes, actually), Canada's 5-0 victory over the Czech Republic was a 1-0 lead.

The turning point where Canada didn't look back started with goaltender Scott Wedgewood making key saves when the team's power play was sagging and they were losing overall momentum.

Wedgewood got things going with a 130-foot pass to defenceman Freddie Hamilton. And while Hamilton couldn't cash in, Ryan Strome did - which resulted in a 2-0 lead - and Wedgewood's move became the heads-up play that absolutely energized Team Canada. 

Shortly after that, Brett Connolly made it a three-goal lead and the rest as they say, is history. But Wedgewood's play was the proverbial TSN Turning Point.

Now Canada's rule of thumb on taking four minor penalties a game didn't go so well, but their penalty killing worked just fine. 

There were two occasions during the game where Don Hay's squad had to kill a 5-on-3. The first - in the opening period - was a shade over a minute and they were also down two skaters for 30 seconds in the third.

The Czechs had over 90 seconds of 5-on-3 hockey and defenceman Scott Harrington of the London Knights ate over a third of it by himself with a terrific job on Wednesday night. Canada also held the fort in their third period kill by simply winning faceoffs and clearing the zone.

Through the first two games, Team Canada has shown that it could use a bit of work on their power play, but their penalty killing has been perfect at the world junior hockey championship. And it started with Wedgewood helping in net with the saves he made early in the game.

Bob McKenzie

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