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2006 WJC Flashback – – Another Day in Vancouver – – Diary of a Hockey Writer

It’s another rainy day in Vancouver. I think that should be a song. Folks here boast about the warm weather (40 degrees) but forget to tell you it’s a rainforest!! Moving on I had a chance to take in my first-ever World Junior Championship game last night. Actually in the spirit of Cubs great Ernie Banks – – I took in two.

The first game was an exercise in total domination that saw Team Canada beat Finland 5-1. Tuukka Rask, a Leafs prospect, was in net and had a solid game stopping 26 shots but his defense let him down. Dustin Boyd was Team Canada’s spark plug scoring twice and finishing a +2 on the night. Team Canada goalie Justin Pogge was rarely tested stopping just 16 shots.

“Well they had a very good forecheck and we had a hard time getting the puck out of our zone,” said Rangers prospect Lauri Korpikoski.

In the second game, every Canadian fan turned into a fan of Norway as they faced Team USA. Norway never had a chance after the first puck was dropped and Chris Bourque scored five times to lead his team to an 11-2 win. Bourque’s outburst wasn’t a record since Markus Naslund lit the lamp five times against Japan. Actually, most of the IIHF single-game scoring records were against Japan but they are no longer a team and that saddens scorekeepers here in Canada.

“I have no idea, they love their country…you can’t blame them…I’m sure USA fans are the same way. It’s not like you give them crap for it, it’s their country, we have a rivalry and this is how it goes,” said Robbie Schremp.

The US used their bodies and Peter Mueller got a 10-minute game misconduct in this affair. US goalie Corey Schneider (made 17 saves) was solid fending off the Norwegian power play.

“Taking penalties is one thing but outing ourselves down 5-on-3 is something we can’t do,” said Team USA goalie Corey Schneider. And he did hear the cheers when Norway scored, “Yeah, I mean you can expect that…we’re used to it.”

“Things didn’t go well for them and we got the bounces tonight, we know that,” said US coach Walt Kyle.

The quote of the evening goes to Norway goalie Ruben Smith. Smith, are you kidding me? His family is from Scotland and he got pulled after letting up six goals.

“Yeah we had fun, it was great. Let in six goals though, would like to have a couple of those back. And he heard the cheers, “Yeah that was great…every time we tried to score…it was great.”

Shane Malloy, Nicole Sacco and I were the last three to leave the building. The cost, who knows. The time put in around nine hours. The outcome – – priceless.

What do Scientology and hockey have in common? Find out in Part II, coming soon.

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