EDMONTON — Logan Stankoven took just a minute to make his mark on Canada’s bid to advance in his team’s first elimination match of the 2022 World Junior Championship. In the next 59, he only got better, which lasted all night. wreaked havoc for the Reds and Whites as they survived a spirited Swiss side en route to a 6-3 win at Rogers Place on Wednesday.
The Canadians knew they would have a fast, capable team in their quarterfinals against Switzerland. The Swiss finished even better than they expected. But the host squad had an answer for the surprise underdogs, who came swinging out of the opening puck drop: their smooth-skating, slick number 10.
The undersized linchpin jumped the boards for his first shift of the game and showed some quick jumps, cutting past a defender and firing into the center of the ice before turning to Tyson Foerster, who made no mistake in taking the shot. Canada’s first shot. A few minutes later, Stank Furnace flew through the attack zone again, a threat in the middle of the ice.
By the end of the first period, he’d added an own goal, grabbed the puck from a Swiss turnover, jangled a shot off the post, then beat everyone else on the rebound to net Canada’s third goal of the evening. .
“He was just a little fireball out there, I thought,” Canadian defender Ronan Seeley said of Stank Furnace after the match ended. “That’s the kind of thing we see in the [WHL], and it came out of him today. It couldn’t have come at a better time.”
“I could see it from the first squad,” added captain Mason McTavish, breaking down the early game from Stankoven and Foerster. “When you see that, you kind of know there’s a man going that night. And his linemates did the same, they fed him.”
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For Canadian netminder Dylan Garand, who has spent the past four seasons at Stankoven in Kamloops, BC, the dominant performance was nothing new.
“Just a classic Stanks game,” the netminder said with a chuckle. “I’ve seen a lot of those matches.”
It’s another comeback for Stankoven, who has just started an MVP-caliber season with the Kamloops Blazers in which he was named CHL Player of the Year. For his part, however, Wednesday’s quarter-final victory felt like a real turning point in a tournament that was more difficult than expected.
“It’s huge,” he said of being able to put the puck in the net in a Canadian jersey, the 19-year-old finished with two goals after adding an empty netter towards the end of the night. “It’s harder than I thought, that’s for sure. It’s kind of my first real taste, and the goals didn’t come easy. I’ve had the opportunities, but not as many as I would have liked. Tonight I thought I could create a few more chances… I thought I jumped more and had more confidence in my game.
“I feel like when I’m more attached to pucks and don’t lose the puck right away, I’m at my best. And I definitely thought tonight was one of my better matches.”
As for the team as a whole, however, it would be hard to find anyone in a Canadian jersey who would call Wednesday’s overall effort one of the side’s better matches. While the hosts were dominant from the opening period to the third period, they also repeatedly let the Swiss back into the tilt.
After Stankoven set up Foerster, a minute later there was Switzerland. While Canada set up three more to take a big lead in the first, the Swiss got two more and continued to languish. It was much the same in the second period, with each team adding another one to their tally, the home side holding onto a two-goal lead for the rest of the way until Stankoven finally gave them some more breathing room with his late empty-netter.
They will live to continue the march to gold, but with tougher opponents lurking, there is certainly work to be done to hone the squad’s overall game.
“I thought it was choppy,” head coach Dave Cameron said of his team’s performance after the game. “I thought we didn’t have that much energy, I felt we weren’t running fast enough, I thought we were bringing the pucks back instead of going north, which led to our success against the other team.
“It was the dreaded quarter-final – you’re playing against the team that has absolutely nothing to lose. Give them credit, they came at us, they made it interesting, but we found a way.”
Canada also suffered a bit of adversity during the night, as striker Ridly Greig was forced out of the game in the first period after a fumble and appeared to have some discomfort afterwards. The Ottawa Senators prospect – who was one of Canada’s undeniably best in the tournament so far – did not return for the second or third period. His coach gave no details about the possible injury after the game, saying only that Greig was being evaluated and the team would have an update on Thursday.
Regardless of what changes need to be made to the lineup, the task ahead will be simple: shift the focus to Friday’s semi-final, to another elimination game, to tighten everything up before the next test arrives.
“It’s huge for us to be in the semi-finals,” McTavish said of the opportunity ahead. “We’re just going to take it game by game. There are only six periods left, hopefully if all goes well in the semi-finals. I think it’s Finland, the Czech Republic or Sweden – they’re all great teams. have to do a lot of work.”