Team Canada certainly lived up to its billing as a team built around a scoring-by-committee approach in its opening tilt at the world juniors on Sunday.
Canadian coach Dave Cameron got six goals from six different skaters - including two defencemen - in an entertaining 6-3 win over Russia that was a nail-biter after the first 40 minutes.
"Coach Cameron has been preaching that - we're four lines deep, which I think really showed," said Edmonton Oilers prospect Curtis Hamilton, who capped Canada's scoring with 27 seconds left in the game. "We rolled all four lines and had a lot of success."
Much of that success came in the third period, as after both teams traded goals through two periods, the game was deadlocked at 3-3 going into the final 20 minutes. Russia then took two penalties back to back to start the third, and Canada capitalized on both - essentially putting the game away off of power play goals from forwards Ryan Johansen and Brayden Schenn.
The first three Canadian goals came from winger Marcus Foligno, captain Ryan Ellis and defenceman Erik Gudbranson.
Canada outshot Russia 14-7 in the third and 42-27 overall, carrying the balance of play after overcoming some early nerves - and overzealous pushes for big hits - in front of a raucous and red-and-white jersey-filled crowd at HSBC Arena.
"I think it was jitters," Ellis said. "There's a lot of guys, this is their first time here [in the tournament]and they've just got to get used to the pace."
"Right now it's just a great controversy in our family."
Canadian winger Marcus Foligno joked after the game about the fact his brother, Nick, played for the American team at the world junior tournament in the past. Both Folignos were born in Buffalo, where their father, Mike, played for the Sabres, but are dual citizens. Marcus Foligno is a Sabres draft pick; Nick plays for the Ottawa Senators.
Roy on edge
Canadian netminder Olivier Roy admitted he was as nervous as he looked in goal to start the game.
And he wasn't at all happy with the second goal he allowed - a relatively weak shot from Russian forward Nikita Dvurechensky, which beat him five-hole to tie the game 2-2 midway through the second period.
Whether Roy played well enough to start over Mark Visentin in Canada's next game remains to be seen. The two netminders are considered equally talented and Cameron waited until late Christmas Day to pick his starter.
"I hope so," Roy said of getting the next start. "I would have liked to have the second goal. I was a little bit surprised. But after that, everything went pretty good for me."
Asked if he was satisfied with his goaltender's play, Cameron said, simply: "Yeah."
Canada has an off day on Monday in preparation for back-to-back games against the Czech Republic on Tuesday and Norway on Wednesday.
Both games are considered winnable given the Czechs aren't considered a medal favourite after finishing seventh last year and the Norwegians are happy to even be in the tournament, making only their second appearance since 1991.
Canada's next big test will come against Sweden on New Year's Eve, which will be each team's final round-robin game.Report Typo/Error