It's been a long time since Team Canada has had great goaltending at the World Junior Hockey Championships. Since Carey Price and Steve Mason won back to back tournament MVPs, Canada has seen Dustin Tokarski be just good enough to win, while goalie like Jake Allen, Martin Jones, Olivier Roy, Mark Visentin, and Scott Wedgewood blew it when it mattered. However all those guys played reasonably well in the round robin.
Enter Jake Paterson. Gaining the coaching staff's confidence with a preliminary game against Sweden where the Swedes missed the net on nearly all of their scoring chances, Paterson has looked lost and spaztic from day one, and it finally caught up with him against the Czech Republic.
All four goals that went in on Paterson in regulation were stoppable, and several of them were odourous. In the shootout, it's tougher to assign blame, but the fact is that Canada needed at least one big save from Paterson on Saturday morning, and they didn't get one.
Team Canada's skaters shouldn't get a free pass either, as being played to a standstill in this tournament by the Czechs is embarrassing, and the shots were just 29-29. Connor McDavid specifically had a really rough game, but at 16 can we really expect him to be the impact player every match?
One positive from the game was that Charles Hudon was finally given ice time, and he rewarded the coaching staff by scoring the tying goal late in the third period to save a little bit of face for Canada, securing a trip to overtime and a single point in the standings.
As the game wore on, it seemed like Hudon had secured his spot on the top line with Jonathan Drouin and Anthony Mantha, which likely should have been united from day one, but we'll give Brent Sutter the benefit of the doubt due to Hudon struggling with injury.
Losing to the Czechs in a shootout is a horrid result for Canada, but if this forces Brent Sutter's hand to bench Jake Paterson and play Zachary Fucale, it might be the best thing that could happen in this tournament.
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