WJC 2013: Jenner strong as Canada beats Russia
Boone Jenner was chomping at the bit to get back on the ice for Team Canada, and fittingly, he did so in a game that was right up his alley.
With a first place in the group and a quarterfinal bye on the line against the Russians, Canada needed a different (and much better) performance than it put forth against Slovakia earlier in the week. They skated two forwards down in that game due to suspensions being served by Jenner and teammate JC Lipon, and adding the fresh legs back in the lineup proved to be valuable.
Canada started fast, scoring two goals in a span of 1:54 late in the opening period that really got Russia back on its heels.
Dougie Hamilton and Mark Scheifele's tallies took advantage of a major penalty assessed to Russia's Valeri Nichushkin for checking from behind, something head coach Steve Spott knew his team would have to do if the opponent got reckless.
Jenner fit seamlessly into Canada's attack, which was built on backing up the Russian defensemen and outworking them below the icing line. Spott lined him up with Brett Ritchie and Philip Danault, and the trio formed a strong line that really set the physical tone for the hockey game.
On their first shift together, Jenner got things going by imposing his will as the "F1" forechecker and bearing down on Russia's defense. His first hit created a turnover in the offensive zone and his first shot on goal (the same shift) resulted in a quality scoring chance that was turned aside by Russian goaltender Andrei Makarov.
Hamilton opened the scoring with a one-time bullet that beat Makarov high over the shoulder and just under the crossbar, a play that was started by a nice saucer pass off the half wall by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
Scheifele polished off a 2-0 lead for Canada by following the puck to the net and beating Makarov to the near post with a backhander, which further emboldened what was a costly penalty by Russia. Nikita Kucherov scored in the waning minutes of the first period to cut the lead in half, but that was all she wrote for Russia.
Jenner told TSN after the game that today's showdown with Russia had been on his mind for a long time, and weighed on him during a three-game suspension handed down by the IIHF.
"My adrenaline was going since I woke up this morning," Jenner told TSN. "We knew the building was going to be electric, and we wanted to feed off that energy. I've been raring to go and thinking about that game, so it's good to get out there and back on the ice."
When asked if he there was any hesitation in his style of play due to the disciplinary action, Jenner's reply was anything but hesitant.
"I'm here to play hockey and that's what I'm going to do," he said. "I'm going to play hard."
With the win, Canada advances past the quarterfinal round and awaits the winner of Wednesday's game between Team USA and the Czech Republic.