GANGNEUNG, South Korea (Reuters) – Canada opened their protection of their Olympic males’s ice hockey gold medal with a workmanlike 5-1 win over Switzerland on Thursday in a muted contest that failed to fill the Kwandong Hockey Centre.
What would have been one of many hottest tickets at any of the 5 earlier Olympics that includes a Canadian group loaded with National Hockey League stars taking part in of their event opener was handled with disinterest as the world’s finest gamers sat these Games out.
With the NHL deciding to finish its Olympic involvement Canada was pressured to assemble a roster of principally nameless journeymen and minor leaguers, the absence of marquee names having an even bigger affect on attendance than on the ice as Canada rolled to a confidence-boosting win.
“You didn’t really know what to expect it’s been a long process we knew the Swiss would have a good and that they would play hard,” Canada coach Willie Desjardins informed reporters.
”It was good for us to get out and get a few objectives early.
“I think it let everybody see on our team where we are at and what we can do. We’ve still got lots of tough hockey ahead of us.”
Canada would normally be the primary attraction packing the biggest venue however on Thursday the gold medalists have been relegated to the smaller area used primarily for girls’s hockey whereas the host South Koreans took on the Czech Republic throughout city on the principal area.
Large swathes of empty seats and simply 2,802 spectators added up to a flat environment inside the world day earlier had been rattling with pleasure for a girls’s hockey sport between a united Korean group and Japan.
The Canadian group that stepped on to the Kwandong Hockey Centre ice on Thursday couldn’t have been extra completely different than the one which claimed gold 4 years in the past in Sochi.
That was a group of future Hockey Hall of Famers, NHL most precious gamers and scoring champions like Sidney Crosby and Jonathan Toews.
The roster that opened protection of that gold was one cobbled collectively from NHL spare components and castoffs. A group of principally unknowns incomes a pay cheque taking part in in distant hockey outposts.
“You try to just treat it like any other game as cliche as that sounds, if you start focusing on magnitude you kind of get lost in the forest,” mentioned Canada netminder Ben Scrivens, who performs within the Russian KHL for Salavat Yulaev Ufa. “You take one game at a time.”
Fans or no followers Canada obtained their bid for a 3rd consecutive gold off to an impressed begin with Rene Bourque redirecting Chris Lee’s shot from the blueline previous Leonardo Genoni to open the scoring and Maxim Noreau including a powerplay tally for a 2-Zero first interval lead.
Bourque discovered the again of the web once more within the second which was adopted 52 seconds later with one other powerplay aim from Wojtek Wolski that pushed the lead out to Four-Zero.
Simon Moser’s third interval powerplay aim accounted for all of the Swiss scoring and Wolski answered with an empty netter for Canada.