Canada gets scare in final pre-tournament game, slips by Swiss in OT

The Canadian Press
Published on December 23, 2016

TORONTO — Team Canada got a real scare in its final pre-tournament game for the world junior hockey championship on Friday night, just slipping by Switzerland 4-3 in overtime.

Nicolas Roy got the overtime winner for Canada after the Swiss rallied from a 3-0 first-period deficit. It was a real jolt to the Canadians, who won their first two pre-tournament games by a combined 10-0 margin.

Dylan Strome netted a goal and an assist in victory, Dillon Dube and Dante Fabbro also finding the back of the net. Carter Hart gave up three goals on just 14 shots.

A likely lottery pick in 2017, Nico Hischier tallied a pair for the Swiss.

Preliminary-round play begins for Team Canada against Russia on Boxing Day.

Strome got it started quickly, the Canadian captain beating Joren van Pottelberghe with a shot from the right face-off circle on a power play one minute 35 seconds into the opening period.

Dube made it 2-0 just over two minutes later, banging home a point-shot rebound. Fabbro added another a few minutes after that, his innocent-looking shot from the left point beating the Swiss goalie short-side for the 3-0 lead.

Canada outshot Switzerland 6-1 after the first 12 minutes and 10-3 for the period. Snow piled up in the Swiss zone, the ice remaining pristine on the Canadian side.

Hart wasn't tested much at all, but he did require one quality save in the early going. The Philadelphia Flyers second round draft pick denied Yannick Zehnder on a short-handed breakaway at one point, the Swiss forward getting his chance when Julian Gauthier's stick shattered in the neutral zone on a Canadian power play.

Switzerland came out strong in the second, finally sustaining some time in the Canada end. They broke through on an odd-man opportunity, Hischier taking a pass in the slot with speed and beating Hart.

The 17-year-old Hart, a potential top-10 overall pick in the 2017 NHL draft, has been called the "Swiss McDavid". A rookie for the Halifax Mooseheads, he ranks among the QMJHL's leading scorers this season with 48 points in 31 games.

He added his second of the game about five minutes after the first, again off the rush. Juulsen was unable to close the gap on Hischier before he fired a shot past Hart.

Pierre-Luc Dubois was then whistled for tripping as a sluggish middle frame continued for Canada, which still outshot the Swiss 7-4.

Switzerland scored their third unanswered though to tie it in the opening minutes of the final period.

Dominik Diem, who notched assists on both of Hischier's goals, managed to gain a step on Strome as he strode through the slot, his shot just squeaking through the pads of Hart before crossing the goal-line.

It was the third goal on eight shots to beat Hart.

Canada picked up its pace thereafter, Dubois nearly scoring on a strong drive to the net during a power play, Blake Speers grabbing another chance from the slot shortly after.

The Swiss didn't land another shot after their goal for more than 10 minutes, the Canadians noticeably more engaged and in gear, though unable to take advantage of a pair of third period power plays.

Canada went 1 for 4 with the man advantage.

Hischier nearly got his third of the night on a Swiss power play, his redirect attempt from the left face-off circle stopped by Hart.

Roy capitalized in the extra frame when a Philippe Myers point shot sailed wide of the net, the Carolina Hurricanes fourth rounder banging in the carom.

Canada has been held without a medal in three of the past four world junior tournaments, including a stinging sixth-place showing last year.

Jonas Siegel, The Canadian Press