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McKenzie: Eberle the hero for Canada once again

Bob McKenzie
12/31/2009 11:38:29 PM
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You don't want to oversimplify an entire hockey game that ultimately needed a shootout to be decided, but Jordan Eberle took Team Canada out of a world of hurt on New Year's Eve.

It happened in the second period when the team was really lagging, that's when the line of Eberle, Brayden Schenn and Brandon McMillan really stepped up.  Eberle finished off a great pass from Schenn to give the team a big lift, then in the third period is when Eberle really took over.

His second goal of the night was a beautiful backhanded deflection, it may have looked like an accident but trust me, that's no accident.  Then he had ice water running through his veins when he opened the shootout by beating American goalie Jack Campbell with a great move. 

While it wasn't the same as the final second dramatics of last year during the gold medal game where you had to rub your eyes to make sure what you were seeing was real, it was still pretty impressive.  This game almost did not reach the point of a shootout thanks to Eberle's play in the third with the disallowed goal.  He made another great play coming off the wall, Schenn couldn't bury it and ended up running over Campbell as Travis Hamonic hammered the puck into the empty net.  A lot of people thought it should have counted, but it didn't so the game continued.  Once again in overtime Eberle had another chance to end it but just could not finish.

Everything in this game revolved around Jordan Eberle from a positive viewpoint for team Canada.

Losing the Turnover Battle

While there was plenty of good for Canada, there were two major problems in this game.  Number one, they really had a difficult time in dealing with the speed of the Americans and number two was the amount of turnovers.

Head coach Willie Desjardins now has all sorts of leverage to try and get his team ready to play much better in the semi-finals.  It was a team wide phenomenon.  Alex Pietrangelo gets beat to a puck and really had a tough time trying to get back up the ice and it was too little, too late.  Colten Teubert gets schooled by the speed of Chris Kreider in the neutral zone.  It happened repeatedly, turnover after turnover after turnover.  Ryan Ellis was a giveaway machine in this game, which is unusual for him.  Jared Cowen was yet another victim and if not for Jake Allen in net for Canada, this could have gotten ugly. 

The turnovers were absolutely ferocious for team Canada in this hockey game.  They now have so much video to work on to get ready for the semi-finals because the speed and turnovers were a critical factor that could have been a disaster for Team Canada on this night.

Bob McKenzie

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