Jordan Binnington made his case to be the starting goalie when the tournament opens for real on Boxing Day as he led Team Canada to a 2-1 shootout win over Team Sweden Saturday morning. The Owen Sound Attack netminder made 30 saves and looked solid in his pre-tournament debut.
Although the team showed much more jump than Thursday’s opener against the Finns, the game was not without its problems. Discipline continues to plague the Canucks kids as they took another 7 minor penalties plus a major for charging assessed to Boone Jenner. The major also came with a game misconduct that could result in Jenner missing the first game or two of the tournament, since pre-tournament games are subject to IIHF discipline.
Sweden opened the scoring on the power play, with Alexander Wennberg cashing in a rebound in the first period. Jonathan Drouin, stepping out of the box after serving Jenner’s major, was sprung on a breakaway and proceeded to make a great selection and tie the game in the second.
After a scoreless third and overtime, the game would be decided by a shootout. Jonathan Huberdeau and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored for Canada while Sens prospect Mikael Vikstrand was the only player to beat Binnington.
Canada played shorthanded up front, as Mark MacNeil didn’t arrive in time to suit up, and then Jenner missed the second half after his penalty. MacNeil was called in to replace Charles Hudon, whose back injury forced him off the team on Friday.
If Jenner does get suspended for a game or two, the schedule works in Canada’s favour as they open against Germany and then Slovakia. It will become a problem if it goes beyond that as the final two round robin games are back to back against the US and Russia.