Comtois comes up huge in Canada’s pre-tournament win

Comtois comes up huge in Canada’s pre-tournament win

Steven Ellis20 Dec 2018Steven Ellis»
 

After a pair of losses during their three-game series against U SPORTS last week, Canada officially kicked off their World Junior pre-tournament series with a 5-3 victory over Switzerland, avoiding a collapse late in the game after originally holding a three-goal lead.

 
 
 
 

After a pair of losses during their three-game series against U SPORTS last week, Canada officially kicked off their World Junior pre-tournament series with a 5-3 victory over Switzerland, avoiding a collapse late in the game after originally holding a three-goal lead.

Both teams will play again on Friday night, with Switzerland challenging Kazakhstan in Port Alberni, B.C. at 7:00 PM PST. Canada will play at the same time, challenging Slovakia at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria, B.C.

The Canadians may have escaped the opening period with the 3-1 advantage, but they still managed to allow the first goal. At 5:13, after the puck bounced off the foot of Evan Bouchard, Phillip Kurashev would make it 1-0 after getting a weak shot between the legs of Michael DiPietro, giving the Swiss the surprising 1-0 lead.

But just 12 seconds later, Canada tied it up. Cody Glass would score from a tough angle after Maxime Comtois fed him from behind the goal line, with Glass, a Vegas Golden Knights prospect, beating Luca Van Hollenstein to make it 1-1.

Comtois was the most noticeable player in the first period, recording two more points in the opening stanza. Comtois would make another pass from behind the goal line after hitting a Swiss defender along the boards, getting the pass out to Mississauga Steelheads star Owen Tippett. Tippett's shot would blast by Hollenstein from far out, giving Canada the 2-1 advantage at 11:43.

Comtois would then get one of his own at 18:45, taking Glass' feed and scoring on a nice wrist shot from the slot, putting Canada up by two heading into the first break.

The two teams would trade goals in the second. First, Jack Studnicka would get one on the power play after Barrett Hayton was initially stopped, adding to his pre-tournament effort that saw Studnicka score twice in Canada's opening game against the U SPORTS selects roster last week.

But a pair of goals late in the period would give the Swiss a chance heading into the third. Two minutes after Studnicka’s goal, Valentin Nussbaumer would beat DiPietro on Switzerland's fourth shot of the game, only to have Tobias Geisser making it 4-3 on the very next shot to make things interesting heading into the third period. The Swiss couldn't turn their late-period effort into a comeback, however, with Comtois adding an empty netter in the final minute of the game to seal the deal in a 5-3 victory for Canada.

Follow me on Twitter, @StevenEllisNHL.

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