Team Canada is on their way in fine form at the 2005 Winter Universiade. They opened the tournament Fri., Jan. 14 with a match against China. I'm going to say this the nicest way I can think of; Team China sucks at hockey. Before getting into too much detail with the results, let's see how individuals on Team Canada fared.
Lakehead University skater Joel Scherban slid the puck past China's goalie twice and added two assists. Lakehead teammate Jeff Richards had a pair of pairs--two goals and two assists. Also from Lakehead, Erik Lodge and Peter Cava added two goals each.
From other schools, University of Western Ontario athletes Ryan Held and Craig Kennedy held onto a hat trick and a pair of goals respectively. That brings Team Canada's goal total to 13 already, but if that wasn't lucky enough we added eight more.
Canada out-shot China 80-6 for the evening, keeping it nice and easy on UWO goaltender Mike D'Alessandro. China did manage to squeak one in during the second period for a final score of 21-1.
The next game for Canada was against a much tougher Czech Republic team. Being bored of goal scoring after the previous night, Team Canada decided to let a couple in for once. Two goals from Czech player Radek Hlavaty opened up the scoring in the first.
Michael Rice of Canada brought his team within one on a power-play, but a short handed goal by the Czechs in the last minute put them back at ease. Another Czech goal in the second extended their lead to 4-1. This enraged the outrageously French-Canadian Jean-Philippe Glaude who put one in the oppositions net with just 30 seconds to play before the final intermission.
Canada continued the trend in the third with power-play goals from Murray Magill and Richards, evening the score at four. A Czech breakaway half-way through the period proved fatal as the score was again in the enemy's favor. This was the third breakaway goal for the Czechs and is something Canada mustn't allow to win future games.
Richards was given one last chance to force overtime on a penalty shot with a sheer 15 seconds to play. Alas it was not to be, despite out shooting the Czechs 53-24, Team Canada was vanquished 5-4.
Looking to get back on track, Canada capitalized early against the Ukrainian team Sun., Jan. 16. A quick goal from UWO skater James Chamberlain and a two-man advantage success from Cava gave us a 2-0 lead. Canada played a defensive game from then on, but still managed to out shoot the Ukrainians 30-21. The final score barked 2-1 Canada and thus, the Ukraine is weak.
After a day's rest, Team Canada put their jock straps back on and took to the ice Tue., Jan. 18 against a stronger oriental opponent, the Japanese. They were stronger, but not too strong. Pairs of goals came from Chamberlain and Scherban with goaltender D'Alessandro stopping 25 of the 26 shots sent his way. The final score rests at 7-1.
With their 3-1 record Canada looked shaky going into their Wed., Jan. 19 game against the Russians who were dominating at 3-0-1. Canada let in six goals over the stretch of the game--four were scored on power plays. Unfortunately for Canada, they couldn't answer with any goals of their own and are now out of medal contention. Let us all shed a single tear on this shameful day for Canada.
Although Olympically Canada has not seen too much success from non-pot smokers over the last few years on a snowboard, Brendan Davis may be our next hope. He smoked the halfpipe competition, earning Canada's first gold at the Universiade. He stunted competitors Tue., Jan. 18 with a front-side 900 that he executed faultlessly. His score of 35.7 bettered the silver medallist's performance by 1.2 points. Davis makes another run at gold in the big-air competition Thu., Jan. 20.
Alpine skiing competitions got underway Sat., Jan. 15 with the downhill race. Three women earned top 20 finishes. Anna Prchal, Maggie Patillo and Sandrine Jean placed 14th, 16th and 20th respectively.
Competition continued Sun., Jan. 16 with the Super G--that's super giant slalom, not super gangsta. Canadians improved on the previous day's results, with Prchal placing seventh and teammate Rachel Walker finishing ninth. On the men's side, Everett Findlay was just edged out of the top 20 at 21st.
The skier cross event got underway Mon., Jan. 17 with Canadians Nicolas Zyrowski and Findlay both qualifying for the elimination round in which they were eliminated.
While Canada remained fairly quiet in the biathlon events, the 4X10km men's cross-country skiing relay team managed an 11th place finish Tue., Jan. 18. Timo Puiras, Carl Skinstad and Stephen Hart, from around the country, were joined by University of Calgary student Michael Argue. All arguing aside, their time was just over six minutes off the winning pace.
Events continue through Fri., Jan. 22. Check www.cisport.ca/innsbruck2005 for more details.