Nearly a miss to Swiss

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:04 AM ET

VANCOUVER -- For a guy who missed practice with the flu on Tuesday, Steve Downie did everything he could to get Canada a victory last night.

However, the majority of his teammates played against Switzerland as though they were the ones who should have stayed in bed.

Instead of picking holes in the Swiss, Canada had to hang on for a 4-3 win at the Pacific Coliseum against a team they completely underestimated.

"We weren't prepared, and we have to come ready to play no matter who it is," said Downie, who had a goal and an assist and was named Canada's player of the game.

"(Coach Brent Sutter) gave it to us pretty good. I think (a close loss) was good for us because we will learn from it. The mentality was we took them too lightly and we can't let it happen again."

Canada, which plays Norway tonight, improved to 16-0 versus Switzerland in the history of the world junior, and Sutter set a coaching record with his eighth win in a row, dating back a year.

But here is a worrisome fact which has to be met head on immediately: The Canadian players, even though they outshot the Swiss 32-17, did not take Sutter's words to heart.

During an off-day on Tuesday, he stressed each game has to be treated as though it is Game 7 of the playoffs. The message did not get through.

And so what if Switzerland didn't back down, like Finland did on Monday night?

"You guys can sit here and say what you want, but that is a different team than what they had in North Dakota last year," Sutter said.

"Maybe part of it has something to do with the fact we did not realize how hard they were going to compete. We can't make high-risk plays, and to some degree we got away from that.

"We were very nonchalant early on. Whenever you have a start you don't want, it has something to do with the way you prepare through the day. It's something to learn from."

Mimico native David Bolland scored the winner at 13:39 of the second period after a behind-the-back, between-the-legs pass from Benoit Pouliot. Dustin Boyd and Tommy Pyatt also scored for Canada, which got 14 saves from Justin Pogge.

Eric Blum, Yannick Weber and Julien Sprunger scored for Switzerland.

And though there was some harrumphing about the officiating of German referee Frank Awizus, don't buy it. When was the last time officiating was not an issue in an international tournament?

The Swiss went ahead 1-0 and later battled back from a 4-1 deficit, getting to within one goal early in the third period and making the final 17 minutes more intense than they needed to be.

"Between periods (Sutter) told us to keep going, go hard and get on their defencemen, and we never did that," Bolland said.

"This is a wakeup call."


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