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From Mark Masters
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Levi, a freshman at Northeastern University, received an invitation to the Canadian World Junior Camp thanks to an outstanding performance at the 2019 World Junior A Challenge in Dawson Creek, B. C.. . Levi was named MVP of the tournament when Canada East fell to Russia in double overtime of the championship game. Shakhir Mukhamadullin, who is also with the World Juniors, scored the winner in the power play.
« It was heartbreaking, » said Levi, who made 39 saves in the final. « I still remember exactly how I felt and I hope that we can do something about it tomorrow . . . I’m just looking forward to a second chance. «
Levi has the best savings percentage in the World Juniors (. 967) and excluded the Czech Republic in the quarter-finals. Afterward, head coach Andre Tourigny admitted he wasn’t sure Levi had that kind of feat in him.
« I’m not going to say that I knew him and had no doubt, » Canada’s head coach told TSN’s Ryan Rishaug. « We liked him from the start. Since he’s been with us, we’ve loved what he brings. We love his energy. We love its focus. We love his attention to detail. We love everything about him, but when I tell you, « Yeah, I knew it before, » it’s not true. «
Canada’s staff weren’t sure if Levi’s game would be rolled over from Junior A to World Juniors, but the Florida Panthers pick in the seventh round silenced any questions about the team’s goalkeeping situation.
On Monday, Levi Yaroslav Askarov, 11. Overall winner in October’s NHL draft, see across the ice. It says a lot about his promotion that Russian head coach Igor Larionov refused to say that his team had an edge in the net.
Levi made 23 saves when Canada knocked out the Russians 1-0 in a pre-tournament game in December. 23. Askarov stopped all 22 shots that he was exposed to over two seasons that night.
Askarov who has one . Saved 918 percent in four games in Edmonton, was at the World Juniors last year, but lost the starting job to Amir Miftakhov and did not see the ice in both games against Canada. Levi, meanwhile, watched the entire gold medal match between Canada and Russia as part of his preparation for camp.
« I took a lot of things out of it, » he said. « They are high intensity games and there are a lot of momentum changes and I’m just ready for ups and downs during the game. I’m just excited. «
Levi paid special attention to how Joel Hofer kept Canada in the game, even though they left much of the tense encounter behind.
« He was absolutely solid, » noted Levi. « He managed his emotions really well. The team went down and they did a good job closing the door and giving them a chance to get back in. «
Canadian netminder Devon Levi talks about the excitement of taking part in the Canada-Russia rivalry when he takes on the Russians in the semi-finals.
Only three Russian players – captain Vasili Podkolzin, Maxim Groshev and Askarov – are back from last year’s squad, but the stab of defeat was felt across the country’s hockey community.
« They will get revenge, » remarked Connor McMichael, one of six returning players on Canada’s roster. « We’ll be ready for the job. «
McMichael says Tourigny is a similar coach to Dale Hunter, who ran Canada’s bank in Ostrava, Czech Republic last year. But Larionov implemented a completely different style than his predecessor Valeri Bragin.
« It’s night and day, » said Tourigny. « It’s very different. Different style, different philosophy, different goal in their game. They like to own the puck. They regroup a lot. They have a good stretch on their breakouts. They made a couple of outliers out of it. They’re still very stingy defensively and still defend very well. You are strong on puck. they are fast. You are a good team. «
« My coaching philosophy is to bring Russian ice hockey back to the top, » said Larionov, « and get the players to play the game, not play the game. « . It’s about collective play and about moving the puck quickly. This is the game they are supposed to enjoy. This is the game they have to play as little kids when they are under no pressure and just go out and have fun. «
« Probably the biggest difference is their patience with the puck, » said defender Jamie Drysdale, who scored the only goal in the game before the tournament. « So we have to adjust to that and make sure we have a really good preliminary exam. «
Drysdale admitted that staying on your toes as a defender can be difficult with the Russians constantly teaming up with the puck.
« It is definitely a challenge to fill your gaps, » said the Anaheim Ducks first classic. « We have to make sure we are sharp with it and that we always have our feet moving when we get up so that we never get caught flat-footed. I think that happened to us a couple of times in the exhibition game and we need to sharpen that. «
Russia head coach Igor Larionov spoke to TSN’s Mark Masters about what is at stake for Monday’s semi-final against Canada, what will be the keys to the game, and admitted that his players undoubtedly saw last year’s loss in the Have head.
Injured Center Alex Newhook skated for about 50 minutes on Sunday while he continued to sustain an upper body injury. Boston College’s product, often shared with Dr.. . Barry Wiens, the team doctor, tried a few shots and jumped into the glass a few times to test his shoulder.
Newhook continues to be classified as commonplace and his status for the semi-finals against Russia is still up in the air, Tourigny said.
Larionov confirmed that Yegor Chinakhov is good for Team Russia after missing the last two games with a lower body injury.
The biggest question mark for Canada is Alex Newhook’s health. James Duthie and Bob McKenzie discuss how Canada is handling its possible return and how the Canadians will try to quell the strong Russian attack.
With Canada as the top seed, Tourigny will have the final move on Monday and will likely try to play the McMichael line against Russia’s top trio Podkolzin, Rodion Amirov and Marat Khusnutdinov.
After Saturday night’s win, Tourigny was asked if potting a goal with an empty net could help McMichael get back on his high scoring paths. The London Knights sniper had seven shots and hit three posts against the Finns on New Year’s Eve. But Canada’s coach immediately shifted the conversation, making it clear that McMichael’s worth goes well beyond his offensive contributions.
« Mikes is an underrated player defensively, » said Tourigny. « He sits in the weeds and reads the play well and he has a good stick and he cuts games and does a lot of good things. «
Perhaps this explains why Tourigny chose to keep McMichael in the middle and move Dylan Cozens, another natural center, to the right wing in Canada’s top line. McMichael made a nice pass to Spring Cozens for Saturday’s opening goal. Tourigny also noted that the Washington Capitals first round player was really reliable in the duel against the Czechs.
« I’ve come a long way in that regard, » said McMichael of his two-way game. « Just being with the caps last summer and being with these guys [in the bubble] and working with their development team taught me a lot. When you watch people like [Nicklas] Backstrom and see them approach the defensive side, you’re trying to pick things out. «
In a conversation with TSN before the World Juniors, McMichael described what he sees when he sees Backstrom.
« How smart he is, his hockey sense. He’s not the greatest guy, but he can only get around with his hockey sense and bat, and that’s the game I play. I’m not the greatest guy, but I feel like I have a great sense of hockey and a good racket so I try to get a lot of things out of his game. He’s just so responsible and all the coaches trust him. So this is kind of a game that I’m leaning towards and he’s a great role model. «
Canada will renew its acquaintance with its enemies from Russia who will likely be the greatest challenge Canadians face yet in the World Juniors. How will the semi-finals develop? James Duthie and Bob McKenzie discuss what kind of team the Russians will face on Monday and beyond.
With Canada struggling to break away from a stubborn Czech team on Saturday night, Tourigny juggled his lines in phase three, promoting Peyton Krebs to the top unit with McMichael and Cozens.
« Krebsie is a rider on his own line but yesterday I felt like we could give our team a chance to reach a top line with Krebise, Cuzzy and Mikes so I did that, » explained Tourigny. « I don’t know how many minutes you played, but you played a lot in the third period. With the game on the line, I thought that was the right move. «
« He’s an energizer bunny, » said McMichael of 5-foot-11 Cancer. « He’s small, quick and very skilled. I love to play with him and if we play together tomorrow I would be really happy. «
Tourigny could at least revert to a more even approach to start the Russia game.
« To be successful as a team we need four lines with a lot of intensity, » said the coach, « but when the chips went out for 20 minutes I felt like we needed a line I could rely on , and this. « were the three. «
Cancer called the Czech game the most physical Canada has played to date, and that style certainly seemed to fit the Vegas top-classic.
« I really liked the Krebise game during the tournament, » said Tourigny. « He brings a lot of energy. His pursuit is phenomenal. He creates a lot of wealth in the depths. He does a lot of plays. «
Cancer was living with Mark Stone in Vegas earlier last season when he sustained an Achilles injury and the couple were in contact throughout World Juniors.
« We have written pretty much every game and he gives me one or two tips here and there, » said Krebs, who was in the bubble with the Golden Knights this summer. « I love chatting with him and he was great for me. Anyway, going to Vegas with all of these studs was a little intimidated, but it made the transition a lot easier. «
« He’s telling me to just have fun and remind myself that this is the last time I’ll do this. He said, « It’s shorter than you think » and « Come to the rink every day with a smile on your face. ‘ »
Stone led Canada in the ranking and won a bronze medal at the World Juniors 2012. This was the last time the event was in Alberta. That was also the last year Canada played Russia in the semifinals and the home team fell 6-5 in a wild game.
Canada, Russia, Junior Ice Hockey World Championships, Igor Larionov
World news – USA – Vengeful Devon Levi leads Canada into showdown against Russia – TSN. approx.
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